Wednesday, August 18, 2021
This is going to seem like a little bit of a cliche for those of you who are church attenders or regulars at church, but regardless, it'll be a reminder to you. And for those of you who are somewhat new, I want to say this: the only place of reliable joy is in the Lord. The only place you'll find joy in a consistent, reliable, never-ending way is to find joy in the Lord. I get that because in Philippians 3:1 the apostle Paul says, by way of reminder, which tells us we all need this reminder, "Finally, my brothers rejoice in the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you."
If we break that down, he says, "Rejoice in the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again," which means that he said this again and again. If he keeps repeating this, it means that chances are, like the Philippians, we need that constant reminder. We have to find our joy in the Lord. Then, he says a second thing: "...and it is a safeguard for you." In other words, it is so you don't get taken in. If you read later in Philippians, it talks about being taken in by false teaching or by other things that glitter. Not all that glitters is gold. Not everything that you think is going to provide joy is going to provide joy. In fact, I'm here to tell you that things that might provide joy will only bring conditional joy or temporary joy. The greatest, undeniable, never-let-you-down joy is joy in the Lord.
Are you finding your joy in the Lord? I find a lot of joy in my wife - I married up so high I got a nosebleed. I love my children, I love my grandson, I love my staff, I love the elders, I love the trustees, I love the people of Lakeshore, I love my friends, I love my golfing buddies, I love my neighbors. I love so many people, but they cannot bring me unconditional, never-changing joy like Jesus Christ can. If I expect that of my wife, of my children, or my grandson, I'm going to be disappointed. My ultimate joy is in Jesus Christ. You say, "Vince, how do you find your joy in Jesus Christ?" Ultimately, it's when you look to him for everything. "God, what do I do? God, what do I say? God, How can I know you love me? God, should I make this purchase? God, should I go this way or that way? God help me." God wants us to have a dynamic relationship with Him. And when you have a dynamic relationship with him and you are taking your cues from him, you will find joy. The best way to have joy in the Lord is to facilitate a continual relationship with him. If I like golf, but I never go to the golf course, I really don't like golf. If I say I find joy in being with John, and I never hang out with John, that's really not my source of joy. The way you're going to know that Jesus is the joy of your life is when you want to be with him. People say, "Well, I'm a Christian and I love Jesus, but I don't go to church." Well, you don't love him as much as you think because Jesus said, "I'll build my church," and Jesus said through the Apostle Paul, "Don't forsake going to church." So, it's the same thing. Here's what I want to say: find your joy in Jesus Christ. When you make a decision, find your approval from him, even if not everybody agrees. When you find a need in your life that is so desperate, turn to Jesus Christ. He can give you joy, and you can have joy in the middle of a trial when he is your source.