Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Have you ever heard of joy-suckers? They can be people, who constantly suck the joy right out of your life. They can be circumstances that become problems and deplete your delight with life. Maybe at times the to-do list is so overwhelming that the enjoyment of simple things escapes you. Having to face things that aren’t done yet can easily exhaust your energy.
It can be that way in our spiritual lives as well. One of the joy-suckers of our relationship with Christ is worry, and we tend to worry most about what isn’t done yet. The apostle Paul address that in our next lesson on the pursuit of joy. Read his words in Philippians 1:6.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
How many unfinished projects are there around your home or office right now? I know I have quite a few. In fact, I am working on a big project right now at my house. I pray that it will not become a joy-sucker, because if it does, I know what will happen: when it is finished, I will lose all interest in beginning the next one, and things will remain undone.
I am so glad that God’s work on me is not a joy-sucker to Him. In fact, God doesn’t even put me on a “To Do” list, but rather keeps me on His “Being Done” list. He is always actively working on my life.
Grandchildren provide wonderful opportunities to illustrate spiritual principles. I remember the day we sent our daughter Rochelle and her husband Brad off to the hospital to deliver her second child. When they left, Denise and I were given the wonderful task of watching our grandson Caleb until went to the hospital to see the baby.
For the first 90 minutes I devoted my entire attention to Caleb as we ate breakfast together, played with Play Dough, and he showed me his incredible computer skills at playing games. He was only 2 at the time and had better hand-eye coordination on the mouse than I did.
When I was done, Denise gave him her attention, and she followed him from one thing to the next as he showed her all the things he knows and enjoys. But every now and then there would be a cry for help. He would admit he needed our assistance to complete a task, correct a problem, or ease a pain. There were also teachable moments where we would talk to him and show him something new. He would listen and learn intently. That was not a joy-sucking experience, but rather the exact opposite, as we were filled with the joy of relationship.
Our relationship with God is to be like that as well. Every moment of every day God devotes his complete attention to us. We spend most of our day moving from one thing to the next, showing God all the things we love about our life and the things we enjoy doing. But then come those moments when we admit that we need His help, or when He wants to show us something that He knows we need to learn. Because we know that He loves us and wants what’s best for us, we listen to Him and humbly accept his help and teaching. God is at work to perfect us just as a parent or grandparent is at work to perfect a child as they grow.
Jesus Christ not only began the work of salvation in our lives, but He authored it before He began it. As the Divine Writer of the plan of humanity’s salvation, every word is absolutely trustworthy. When we were regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God based on faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, Jesus began the good work of perfecting His truth in our lives. Nothing can stop that work. There is no reason to be weary and lose heart. There is only reason for rejoicing, because Jesus Christ is with us every moment of every day and is perfecting His life in ours. Someday, when Jesus returns to earth to take us into His presence forever, we will experience perfect joy. With that guarantee from God, we can endure whatever the journey brings us today, and we can do so with joy. Nothing will go unfinished in God’s plan, and that includes the perfection of our lives. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, all joy-suckers can be eliminated.
Hebrews 12:2 – 3 (NIV) 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.