Jewels cousin invited me to write a few devotionals for a high school class she teaches. This little devotion is the latest entry, the others are listed under the category “Faith in the Desert”. I pray you are blessed and challenged by my thoughts. dave
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:9-10
Last week I challenged you to make a purposeful decision to follow Christ. But to choose Christ means your not choosing the obvious and easy pleasures of the world, so it begs a question…WHY? Now you’ve probably never been allowed to ask that out loud but it’s question you must answer. WHY? Why follow this Jesus? What does he have to offer that the world doesn’t? It’s a great question most folks are to afraid or ashamed ask because if your being honest you would have to admit, a lot of the world don’t seem too bad. Party’s are fun, girls sure are pretty and who wants to listen to parents anyway? I know when I was in high school I thought being a Christian consisted of learning and attempting follow a bunch of painful rules. Don’t drink, don’t swear, don’t mess around with girls or tobacco, don’t talk back to your parents and so on. But the question I always had was why? I bet this has crossed your mind too. Do you really want a relationship with a God like that, can’t most of those no no’s make you happy? I’m not trying to be sarcastic, I’m just trying to get you acknowledge the question. Practically speaking why do you want to follow Christ? What does He really have to offer? Even if you are crazy in the love with the Lord at some point you will come face to face with this question and your answer can’t be some trite church motto your momma taught you. So what is your answer?
Now I can’t answer this for you but having chewed on this for a while personally I think there is an answer. An unbelievably clear and life changing answer in fact, and it starts with a simple word…worship. You see being Christian means choosing to trust and worship Jesus. Worship means to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, and devotion.. Now the funny thing is, and most people don’t even realize this, everybody worships something. I’ll say that again because you might have missed it. (MEG please stamp your foot) Everybody worships something. Yep, like it or not, deny it if you will, but the reality of this world is that every single person who walks this earth worships something and often many things. Money, body image, status, sex, clothing, travel, social networking, sports you name it. Our problem is we don’t know what is actually worthy of worship. We look at all these things we’re subconsciously worshiping and end up feeling like Jesus is some kind of killjoy who doesn’t want us to enjoy anything. The tragic thing is we have it all wrong, in fact the exact opposite is true. God wants us to experience the greatest joys and pleasures this world has to offer. That’s important for you to hear clearly so let me repeat myself…Jesus Christ wants you to experience the greatest pleasures and deepest joys know to man. Let that soak in for a second. The difference is he’s not impulsive and stupid like us so He actually knows what will bring deep joy and satisfation. I’m not lying, in fact our problem isn’t that we seek pleasure it’s that we don’t seek the greatest pleasure possible, a relationship with Jesus.
Let’s give an example. The past 5 weeks since I’ve deployed things have been a little crazy in Ayer household. Our car broke down, and the freezer, dishwasher and sink have all had to be repaired. Two grandma’s have died (I’m not kidding), my wife received a ticket and we found out that the 4th of our 5 children will require intense medical treatment in the next few months. She will see physical and occupational therapists one to 3 times per week, in addition to having several other doctor appointments. She will also have a cast placed on her only functioning hand this month and will likely need calf surgery in the next year or two. A little bit of extra stress. I’m glad we don’t have a dog because I’m sure it would be dead.
Now, I don’t tell you all that to create a Dave and Julie pity party but to prove an important point. If my joy was found in being home to take care of my family, going to sporting events, partying, spending time with my kids, hanging out with friends, or having sex with my wife do think I would have any joy right now? Would life be satisfying for me? But I have joy, a deep fulfilling joy found by walking thru a trial with Jesus. But, let’s make this applicable to you. If you hope to find deep lasting joy in your boyfriend or girlfriend, your body, social network, gizmo’s, financial status or whatever else; do really think that’s going to work? Honestly, and I’m not talking about just this month, I’m talking long lasting satisfying joy. If you really are thinking that way let me offend you by requesting that you open your eyes. How many broken hearts and families do you know who placed their hope in those things only to be disappointment or worse. Most of them are great people who unfortunately never took the time to decide who or what they would worship. They worshiped the things of this world, not the Lord who created it. They never addressed this “why” question and in doing so sought out (and found) lesser pleasures that didn’t even met their expectations.
It’s really quite simple, Jesus Christ alone is worthy of our worship and our true joy can only be found in Him. CS Lewis put it beautifully “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.” It is hard to believe for some, but an intimate personal relationship with Jesus is the greatest joy this world can offer you. He will always satisfy deepest needs, He never forgets your pain; He never turns his back or refuses to hear your cries. A relationship with Jesus means your accepted, fully and unconditionally adored by the Savior who choose you. And he did this despite being able to see right through that fake image you present to the world every morning. He knows you’re past mistakes, the ugly side of your heart, your anger, lust, and insecurity. Yet, he is still absolutely devoted to you and longs for you to know how cherished you are.
So take the time today to answer the question why. Why should I choose Jesus over the things of this world? For if you discover the Truth you’ll experience His joy for the first time and in doing so worship the only One who is worthy…Jesus.
Choosing Joy thru Worshiping Christ,