I recently returned from a trip to El Salvador. During that week God revealed to me that the joy of my life should flow out of the joy found in my salvation. And I began to meditate on Psalm 51:12, “12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
This passage was written as David was repenting of his adulterous and murderous relationship with Bathsheba. And as I think on the restoration of joy it is only found in salvation. Our greatest happiness is found when God restores us to himself through the cross of Jesus. And like David, sin is what steals that joy. While we may not have had an affair with someone and had their spouse murdered, we have sinned and in God’s eyes all sin is equal.
So when I have a lack of joy there is sin to be repented of. I find that too often I get distracted from my worship of God by my “to do” list. When life is coming at me too fast and I feel the weight of everything on my shoulders I, like Peter walking on the water, take my eyes off of Jesus and begin to sink.
After leaving El Salvador, where I was focused solely on preaching the gospel, I have returned home. And on returning to home I could feel my stress level rising as I began to recall everything that I have to get done. And in that moment my eyes fell off of the face of Jesus and focused on my circumstances. I need the second half of Psalm 51:12…”uphold me with a willing spirit.” I need the Spirit of God to uphold me. I need to repent for thinking that God cannot carry me through the difficulties and stresses I face.
Perhaps you feel the same way. I want to encourage you to stop now spend time in prayer confessing how you have tried to do things in your own strength. Perhaps you need to confess that you are doing too much and have no space in your days for Jesus. I also want to encourage you to stop and dwell on your favorite bible verses and let the truth of God bolster your heart. Each of us needs to believe the truth of God which means focusing on His truth so the lies we believe can be replaced.
Joy is only found in Jesus. While certain people, activities, and objects bring us joy, those things are not the source of the joy we experience. Jesus has given us all the we have. Our families, our hobbies, and our possessions are all from Christ. He is the one that deserves the praise for the joy all those things bring us.
It all boils down to what you are focusing on. We need God the Father, not the gifts that God the Father gives us. When we focus only on the gifts we worship those gifts and ignore the One who gives the gifts.
Fight for joy by focusing on the Salvation bought for you on the Cross of Christ. Continue to ask God to restore the joy of salvation and uphold you with His Spirit.