Aug 23 7:58 AM
Joy in the Spiritual Journey
Aug 23 7:58 AM
Aug 23 7:58 AM
Monday, August 23, 2021
There's an old saying, and I believe it's true, that there's just as much joy in the journey as in the destination. This is true if you will pay attention to the journey, you know, smelling the roses along the way. It's not just the kill, but it's the chase that brings excitement, right? The getting there is just as much fun as arriving. There's a lot of truth to that. So many times we're waiting to get to a destination to find joy and not experiencing joy in the journey. I want to tell you that if you're always going to wait to get to the destination to experience joy, you're going to have a lot of dry seasons of joy. You have to learn to enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, enjoy the getting to wherever you want to go. If it's building a house, the joy of making the selections; if it's rising in your career, the joy of working where you're at right now; if it's making a friendship or a dating relationship, the joy of working toward where that relationship is going. And if it's a closer walk with Jesus Christ, which we'll never get to the destination of until we're in heaven, you have to find joy in striving to get closer to Jesus Christ.
I get that from Philippians 3:10-11, Paul's letter of joy. Look at what he says, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." What does he mean by "the power of his resurrection"? The Bible says that the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in every Christian. Like Paul, I want to know those great, powerful moments where God works, and I want to know the fellowship of his suffering. When Jesus Christ suffered, which he suffered so much in his life, not only on the cross which was the ultimate sacrifice, but during all 33 to 35 years, whatever it was, of Christ's life putting up with us. He suffered. And the Apostle Paul said he wants to know the resurrection-power moments of Christ, and he wants to know Christ through the suffering.
What's he saying? He's saying, "I want to know Christ through the ups and the downs." What is life? It's a series of ups and downs. Life is the journey of the ups and downs. And guess what? God wants you to get closer to him through the ups just as much as he wants you to get closer to him through the downs. Look again at what he says in verse 11, "becoming like him in his death, and so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead." The Apostle Paul was not questioning whether he's going to make it to the end. Once you're a Christian, you're always a Christian. What he was saying is, "I will make it and the question is, what will that journey be, or what will the ups and the downs be?" So, he's not questioning if he'll rise from the dead because every true Christian will. He's questioning the journey. No matter what the ups and downs are, somehow through this journey of ups and downs, he'll rise from the dead. Here's what I want to say: Jesus Christ and the journey with Jesus Christ must be enjoyed every day. Not, "Well I had a good day so I can enjoy Jesus," or, "I had a bad day, he didn't do what I want and I'm not going to enjoy him today." Good luck with that life. That's called a yo-yo life, and you're never going to make it. You're going to be up and down. You're going to be bipolar, a spiritually bipolar person. Don't do that. Enjoy the journey. One person said, "Wherever God leads me, I will follow. Whatever God feeds me, I will swallow." All I want to say is that God has you on a journey, a custom made journey for you, and the whole purpose is to draw you closer to him on this spiritual journey. Will you find joy no matter what? Will you find joy in the ups when it's easy? And in the downs when it's hard?
It's up to you. Do you want to live a joyful life all the time? Or do you want to live a joyful life only when everything lines up? Joy has nothing to do with your circumstances. Joy has everything to do with your spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. If you're close to Jesus Christ, you will feel joy no matter what. But you have to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, the chase as much as the kill. Let's pray. Father, help us to enjoy the journey you have us on. Every one of us are on a different journey. right at this moment, every one of us is at a different place. And I pray, Almighty God, that we will see joy in our circumstances, whether it's the ups, the downs, the Midlands, whatever it is. Help us to see joy because we are on a journey you've created for our life. And we ask this in Jesus' name, amen.