December 20 I Tuesday
“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16
The very thing that humanity is pursuing relentlessly is a quest for joy. If we walk into any self-help section of a bookstore, we will see countless titles talking about the happy or the fulfilled life. Modern psychology and philosophy are all about making life better. There are volumes of books that demonstrate humanity’s quest for joy. But what we learn is that from all of mankind’s development, our revolutionary actions, our scientific discoveries, our innovation and our self-help resources, we have not become any happier.
Since sin entered our human condition, we pursue joy in the wrong places. Like Adam and Eve putting on fig leaves to cover their nakedness after they sinned, we pursue purpose and meaning in things other than God. For some of us in our culture, it is the pursuit of joy in the perfect body or beauty, material wealth and prosperity, or a relationship. We pursue these things apart from God and seek from them something that they cannot give us, because it is something only God can provide.
In C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity, he writes, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” This is where the Christmas message meets us. An angel appeared before the shepherds saying, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). The thing that we are seeking, relentlessly pursuing, is here–Jesus Christ is here. We pursue Christ and joy is the outcome.
A telling sign for whether a person is experiencing Christ in their life is how much joy they have. Some Christians go around feeling sad and groaning about life. Yet, Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” As we experience Christ and make our home in Him, joy is the outcome because it is part of the fruit of the Spirit. This joy is not dependent on circumstances, but rooted in His state of being; it is His joy filling our lives because we are in Him. Glorious joy should be pouring out into our lives as we behold Him, as we fix our eyes on Him.
True joy is not found in a self-help book, but in the Bible, which tells us of a loving God who sent His beloved Son to save the world from sin and death. May we find joy this Christmas season because Jesus Christ is here.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your beloved Son to save the world from sin and death. I can experience true joy through a relationship with You. Praise You!