photo credit: Krys KeylorIt's something we all desire. We yearn for it. We strive to attain it. We work harder for it. We set our minds to achieving it.
We even condemn ourselves for lacking it.
Joy. It seems so hard to possess and even harder to maintain in this life.
And it get's worse. We not only lack joy, but we possess anxiety and worry in abundance!
We worry about our finances. We worry about sickness. We worry about our children. We worry about our loved ones. We worry about the day to day; getting the laundry done, the house being clean, the millions of items on our to-do list. We worry what others will think of us. We worry we will fail. These and so many more, we would probably categorize as selfish worry.
Then, we have worry over all of the people starving in the world. Worry over the millions who are trapped in slavery of various kinds. Worry over the millions who at this very moment are lost and on their way to hell. We would probably categorize these as selfless worry.
But guess what? It's all selfish. Wait. What?
Yep. It's all SELF-ish.
We take the weight of the world on our shoulders as if it were ours to bear; as if the weight has not already crushed our Savior.
Listen, a heart that is bound up in worry and fear cannot overflow with joy. It is bound.
Our overflow of worry and fear and lack of joy is sinful. It doesn't point to Christ. If that's why we exist, which it is, then we should not take this lightly.
Let's look at some scripture about worry, fear and anxiety.
"Therefore, humble yourselves under the Mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." -1Peter 5:6-7
(humble yourself, trust Him and His timing)
"I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears." -Psalms 34:4
"It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil;for He gives to His beloved sleep." -Psalms 127:2 (rest in Him)
"Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved." -Psalm 55:22 (He will sustain you)
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." -1 Corinthians 10:13
(we should not fear what this life brings, God is over it all)
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." -Matthew 6:34
(God has given us enough grace for today. When tomorrow comes, He will give us what we need.)
On our quest for joy, it is absolutely necessary to look at why we do not already possess it.
The root of worry and fear is often the love of earthly treasure.
Do you have great desire for others to love you or think much of you?
love of self?
Love of earthly possessions?
Has family become an idol to you?
So broken down, the above looks like this:
-pride, selfishness, vanity
-idolatry-loving the blessings from the Creator more than the Creator Himself
Fear and worry are often just indications that treasure is buried nearby.
This is hard stuff. However, if we are serious about the love we proclaim for the Lord, the love we proclaim for others, and the desire to truly live out joyful lives, then you have to seek, search deep, and ask the hard questions.
Let me leave you with two questions.
1. What do you worry about losing the most?
2.What makes you most happy when you think of gaining it?