How would you feel if someone said to you, I have a surprise for you! I would like to give you a new wide-screen HDTV!
How would you react? Most of us would be very excited! We might even jump up and down and shout “Oh, Wow! Oh, Wow! Oh, Wow!” a few times!
We would respond the same way (in varying degrees, of course) if someone gave us a new car, or a new home, or an all expenses paid vacation, or a new computer system.
We would probably be eager to get on the phone and tell our friends and family about this incredibly good fortune that had fallen our way. I’m sure that I would be twittering it to my family and telling my coworkers, students, and friends. They would certainly be rejoicing with me and maybe struggling with a bit of envy.
Isn’t it really amazing how we get so worked up and excited about these kinds of things? We are so convinced that they will bring great joy into our lives. And, for a brief time, they certainly are very exhilarating.
But, on further reflection, most of us realize that, after all, it’s just stuff. And we can probably remember a time in the past when we got all excited about some new stuff… but soon the thrill we experienced over that stuff is over and gone.
I wonder if we would get quite as excited if God whispered in our ear, “I have a gift for you! It’s a closer walk with Me! What do you think?”
I wonder if many of us would react by saying, “You mean more Bible study? You mean more Prayer time? Yeah, I need to do more of that, I guess.”
I wonder how many of us would jump up and down shouting “Oh, Wow!”
Somehow we seem to have a hard time learning that all that new stuff that we long for with such intensity cannot bring lasting joy. It can only bring short-lived exhilaration.
We also have a hard time learning that a closer walk with God is the one thing that will bring us joy that never fades!
Look around at the people you know. Who seems most contented, joyful, and full of peace? Is it the ones who keep getting excited over new stuff? Or is it the ones who seem to have learned to walk closely with God? There’s no contest is there? So why do we keep falling into the more-new-stuff-will-surely-bring-me-happiness trap?
It’s because there is a lot of lying going on! There are people out there with lots of money. These people have finely honed their skills at making us believe that we simply cannot be happy unless we have some new stuff that they happen to be selling. We believe that lie. We think that we simply cannot be cool without it. We may even believe that we will be miserable until we get it! It’s all a lie. And, believing the lie, we find ourselves trading lasting joy for mere fleeting exhilaration.
Now for the really sad part.
Many of us carry that same idea over into our relationships. Even our marriage relationship. We look at a potential relationship with a certain person the same way we look at a new car we would like to have. And if we somehow manage to get that person, we have the same exhilaration we had when we got the car. And, following the same pattern, we eventually come to the time when the excitement wears off, and we are ready to move on. We’re ready for another exciting person to come into our lives, because the old one is not so much fun anymore.
There are many people who go through their entire lives grasping for one exciting exhilarating thing (or person) after another. But they miss the real joy. That lasting, steady, wonderful joy.
How do you get it? Jesus said it this way once: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
He created us this way! The more we focus on Him, the closer we walk with Him, the more we listen to Him, the more His joy abounds in us!
And when I and my spouse both get focused on Him, we each begin to learn how to be the kind of person that makes a great marriage partner, and our marriage becomes incredibly wonderful!
Do you want lasting joy? Abounding Joy? You can have it! But you have to give up your selfish ideas of how to get it! You have to do it His way!
Stay in the battle!