Summary: Discusses the importance of God being first in your life & in your priorities if you are going to have the joy-filled life Jesus promised.
RESTORING THE JOY
Part 3: Starting Out Right
I had to go and put some new tires on our truck this past week. That was fun, let me tell you. We had known for some time we were going to need new tires, because the tread was getting thin. We ended up getting them a little sooner than we thought because one of the tires got a nail in it and started going flat on me.
That’s not the only tire we’ve had problems with lately either. All summer we’ve been battling with one of our mower tires that wouldn’t hold air. Just about the time I’d get it fixed another one would go flat. Yesterday we discovered one of the tires on the church mower had gone flat.
Tires aren’t the only thing we’ve had trouble with lately either. It seems that our checking account has sprung a leak as well. You know what I mean? I keep putting money in it and it keeps leaking out. Am I the only one that struggles with a leaking checking account?
A lot of things leak in life, don’t they? Everything from baby diapers to soda cans, garden hoses to radiators, air conditioners to kitchen sinks, levies to roofs, pentagons to senate chambers. We have air leaks and oil leaks, water leaks and freon leaks. Why is it that nothing stays where it‘s supposed to?
You know, there is another leak a lot of people struggle with as well, and that is a joy leak. Jesus said in,
> John 10:10 “I have come that they might have life and have it in abundance.”
In other words, one of the reasons Jesus came was so that you and I could live abundant, victorious, joy-filled lives.
Let me ask you, does your joy ever leak out? Mine does. I can be living large and enjoying life, and then a day, or a week, or a month later I look around one day and discover the joy isn’t there that I used to have. I never see a puddle or anything so I guess it evaporates. Either that or Gladys cleans it up behind me. “Gladys have you seen my joy?” “Yeah, I put it on the counter by your cell phone. I wish you’d get that leak fixed because usually right after you lose your joy, I lose mine too.”
It works like that sometimes doesn’t it?
Jesus came because He loves God and because He loves us. He came to bring us freedom, and forgiveness; salvation and security; but He also came to bring us abundance and joy. If Jesus came to bring us joy, why is it that so few of us have it in our lives? I believe one of the primary reasons many people’s joy has leaked out is found in Exodus chapter 20.
- Read Exodus 20:1-7
Let’s think about the situation here. The Israelites lived in Egypt for more than 400 years and during the majority of that time they were slaves. For years, and generations they looked forward to the day when they would be free, when they would have their own homes in their own lands. For years they cried under the oppressive bondage of their slave masters. God heard their cries. He answered their prayers. He sent Moses to lead them to freedom.
After God sent 10 plagues against the Egyptians, they decided it might be time to let the people go. The Israelites marched out of Egypt, led by Moses who was led by God. God parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross and then closed it behind them; destroying the Egyptian army that had been pursuing them.
When they were hungry, God sent manna. When they were thirsty, He sent water from a rock. God provided all they needed. Then He led them to Mount Sinai, where He gave them the 10 Commandments. He said, “Listen. 400 years ago there were only about 60 of you. Now I’ve multiplied you to the point where you number in the millions. I have made you a great nation. I have brought you out of slavery and given you your freedom. I’ve destroyed your enemies, and gave you much of their riches. I’ve fed you and given you water to drink. Now, I am about to lead you to a land of your own. I’m going to give you houses you didn’t build. I’m going to give you gardens and vineyards you didn’t plant. I’m going to give you all of that, but this is the only way all of this is going to work. This is the only way you’re going to find the peace and joy you’ve been looking for. I must be the Only God in your life.”
My friend, I believe that is why some of us have allowed our joy to leak out. We have forgotten God’s first rule for joyous living.