Welcome to Day One of the four part series, "Lies that Rob Me of Joy"
Satan does everything he can to get my eyes off Jesus; then I become joyless and vulnerable to believing even more lies. As I dig to discover the source of my joylessness, I find lies. I fully intend to shed light on these little roaches and watch them scatter. Care to join me?
- I can earn God’s favor
- It’s greedy and selfish to enjoy this life
- It’s not fair that I would have so much and others wouldn’t
- Joy is happiness
First, let me illustrate what I mean by being joyless:
Their young fingers firmly quiver on cello strings, their hands quickly maneuver bows. They must be about 7 – 14 years old. This young quartet creates a symphony in perfect time. I’m moved by the beauty of these children and their gift. Perhaps this is what heaven is like. How God must delight in them right now! Tears collect in my eyes as I soak in their angelic song.
Joy dissipates, as I suddenly feel completely undeserving of this pleasure. ‘With all the death and starvation around us, how dare I sit here and enjoy this moment. What a lazy, selfish glutton I am.’ Tears stream down my face as joy succumbs to sorrow.
This is just one of many moments that could have been joyful but were not. Lies we believe rob us of joy. Thank God for the truth that sets us free!
LIE #1: I Can Earn God’s Favor
I want to believe that I deserve blessing, honor, joy. I want to earn it – or, at least I think I do. Larry Crabb, author of “The Pressure’s Off” puts it this way:
“I want this life to work, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. No wonder I feel so much pressure and struggle with so much disillusionment and doubt. When things work well, I publicly say “Praise God”, and privately whisper, “Of course. I did what I was told. I got it right.” When things go poorly, I publicly declare, “God is working for my good. I will trust Him.” privately I wonder, “What did I do wrong””
TRUTH: I don’t deserve pleasure, joy or blessings. No one does. God may choose to give them to me and not others, or give to them and not me. It is not based on merit, but His choosing.
Shining the Light:
"Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not!
For God said to Moses, "I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
and I will show compassion to anyone I choose."
So it is God who decides to show mercy.
We can neither choose it nor work for it."
“You must recognize that the Lord your God
is not giving you this good land because you are good,
for you are not – you are a stubborn people.”
“So it is clear that no one can be made right with God
by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say,
“It is through faith that a righteous person has life”
It seems impossible to wrap my mind around this.
We live in a world where 1 + 2 = 3. Do this, and that will happen. It seems insane to consider that NO effort I make will deem me worthy to receive blessings, mercy, grace.
Lord, I think I know what’s fair but I don’t. I don’t see the big picture you do. I don’t know your higher ways – how you measure or judge … I can’t understand it. Maybe I never will. Lord, help me to rest in your presence – to be fulfilled by you whether I receive blessings or not. I want to please you, Jesus. Help me cross over from serving out of pride to serving out of love.