As Christians, we should be the most joyful people in the world.
And honestly, many Christians are. But not every Christian. Why? I am sure there are many different reasons, but I was challenged by an explanation Charles Spurgeon once gave.
“Blessed is the man who, in the most terrible storm, is driven not from his God, but even rides upon the crest of the lofty billows nearer towards heaven. Such happiness is the Christian’s lot.”
Imagine! Being the kind of person whose suffering actually increases his joy because it draws him closer to God.
That’s every Christian’s privilege.
But, he goes on.
“I do not say that every Christian possesses it, but I am sure that every Christian ought to do so.”
Unfortunately, not every Christian experiences this kind of joy, but they should.
“There is a highway to heaven, and all in it are safe; but in the middle of that road there is a special way, an inner path, and all who walk therein are happy as well as safe.”
The problem is many Christians aren’t walking in the middle of the road.
Instead, Spurgeon writes,
“They walk in the ditch by the side of the road, and because they are safe there, they are content to put up with all the inconveniences of their walk, but he who takes the crown of the causeway, and walks in the very center of the road that God has cast up, shall find that no lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up there on, for there the Lord Himself shall be his companion, and will manifest Himself to him.”
Now here’s the exhortation. And it’s an important one.
If you are lacking joy, is it because you are not really, pursuing Christ.
“You shallow Christians who do but believe in Christ, and barely that, whose Bibles are unread, whose closets are unfrequented, whose communion with God is a thing of spasms, you have not the joy of the Lord, neither are you strong. I beseech you, rest not as you are, but let your knowledge of your weakness, provoke you to seek the means of strength.”
In other words, if you are complaining that you are hungry, is it because you are not eating? If you are upset with God, because you are not experiencing the joy of the Lord, is it because, you are not actually pursuing your joy in the Lord?