One of my favorite verses that I have ever put to memory was in Psalm 51:12 NLT. It states, Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.
I have been a follower of Jesus for twenty-four years, and the memory of my salvation is not as fresh as it used to be. I have times where I struggle to remember the joy that came when I surrendered my life to Jesus as Lord and Savior. I have been going through a lot of difficulties with work and continuing to learn about how to be a good Godly husband/father to my wife and kids, so I have been quoting this verse throughout my day. I have been longing for the joy that can only come from the Lord. I have been longing to walk in worship, and see the world through His eyes, but I just have not been able to get there.
Thankfully, I went to church on Sunday. I was not planning to. I needed to stay at work throughout the day, and I was already tired. We had a birthday party planned for that night, and I just wanted a short respite. By God’s mighty work, one of my son’s friend was being baptized. We could not miss being there for Jake, so we went, somewhat begrudgingly. Little did I know, God was going to help me to remember the Joy of my salvation through watching baptism.
As I sat and watched each of those young guys get buried with Him in baptism, and raised to new life, the Spirit of the Lord pressed on my soul, that I was His. That I was part of His family. That I have new life, and even though it’s been twenty-four years, that his love for me is still as strong. That my sins have been washed away. I am forgiven. I am a child of God. After the baptismal service, Josh, our pastor, invited anyone who would want to come touch the water and be reminded of what God had done in each our lives, and I couldn’t even move. I knew that I would be a crying mess, so I sat in my chair with my sunglasses on (Thank God we were outside), and slowly wiped away my tears. I may have not physically touched the water, but in my head, I was diving in head first.
Since Sunday as I have reflected on what God was doing, and I have asked Him what is causing me to not live in His joy! He has pointed me to multiple passages of scripture, but one that I have not been able to escape is in 1 John 2:15-17 NIV:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
What I believe has been my hindrance to the Joy of the Lord in my day to day, is that I am viewing the world through my own lens, and not through His eyes. I have been striving for excellence for all of the wrong reasons. I have wanted a certain promotion. I have wanted a certain dollar figure. I have wanted a new house. I have wanted to do and accomplish things that are not bad in and of itself, but those things have become my focus, rather than focusing on living a life that honors our Lord.
It is so easy to focus on what we can see, when what matters the most is unseen. What brings Joy, and what brings contentment in life, will never be what this world has to offer. I also recognize that this will be a fight that I will face until the day we die. I know it will forever be a challenge, but a challenge worth taking.
If by chance you have taken the time to read this blog post, I simply ask for one response. I ask you to join me in praying over this verse from Psalm 52. May God restore to us the joy of His salvation, and may we be willing to obey Him. I do want to give warning, that it may lead you to some tears under your sunglasses. It also can lead to you seeing more clearly, and experiencing joy like no other! May God bless your journey!