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Destination Joy

“The joy that Jesus gives is the result of our disposition being at one with his own.”

Oswald Chambers

How happy are you? The other day I confessed to the Lord how much I loved Him and how content I am with the life He’s given to me. But it hasn’t always been that way. For many years I fell into the destination happiness trap. You know, the one that says I’ll be happy WHEN… Like, I’ll be happy when I’m married and have children. Or, I’ll be happy when I finish my degree and land a particular position at work. Other possibilities could be: I’ll be happy when I retire, lose weight, go on a trip of a lifetime, or publish a book. The problem is these destinations for joy come with expectations that may or may not be met. The saddest part though, is people look to the future for their joy, all the while missing the opportunity for joy in the present. Looking ahead to the destination can rob us of today’s happiness.

My joy has to do with today, not tomorrow; right now, rather than later. Is everything the way I want it to be? Absolutely not. Are all my desires and longings fulfilled? Not even close. But my heart is at rest, content, and full of peace. I can only attribute my joy as a result of my relationship with the Lord. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

All of life seems right, when my relationship with the Lord is right, even if life is topsy turvy and upside down like it is during the pandemic. I like having things in order around my house. There’s internal peace without external piles of clutter. Likewise, when my relationship with God is in order, there’s peace and contentment. Making time with God a priority and spending time in His Word, in prayer, and by listening to His voice keeps my relationship with God right. The gifts of repentance and forgiveness also restores my soul. When I confess my sins to God and receive His forgiveness and let go of offense from others and extend the same forgiveness I’ve received from God to others, it all adds up to joy.

C.S. Lewis wrote: “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” Instead of setting yourself up for possible disappointment by living for a destination to give you joy, live for God and you will discover all the joy you’ve ever desired.

“Those who face that which is actually before them, unburdened by the past, undistracted by the future, these are they who live, who make the best use of their lives; these are those who have found the secret of contentment.”

Alban Goodier

Relevant Reflection:

Name one action step you can take today to find joy in Jesus.

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