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. (Psalm 16:11)
Far too many people in church today see our God as a “killjoy”—a dour deity frowning down on mankind with a stern cosmic countenance, looking for every opportunity to throw a bucket of water on the fire of our fun in this life.
Nothing could be further from the truth! This completely unscriptural notion is a lie from Satan; it smells like smoke and comes from the pit of hell. Our God is no cosmic killjoy!
The psalmist knew the truth about God’s plan for His people. God placed Adam and Eve in Eden, which in Hebrew means a “garden of delight . . . a garden of pleasure.” In other words, Adam and Eve inhabited a garden of joy in the presence of God. God gave Adam and Eve the opportunity to experience joy—not only daily, but moment by moment. And that joy was to be rooted in their relationship with the Lord God.
That sane opportunity exists for you and me today. The key that unlocks the door leading to joy will only be found in the presence of our Lord.
There is something important for you to know about God’s plan for His people; it did not change after Adam and Eve’s awful act of cosmic treason. The joy of the Lord would now come to us through a right relationship with His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. When we give our hearts to Christ, we begin the lifelong process of being filled with “eternal pleasures” at God’s mighty right hand . . . the place where Jesus sits right now.
John records this truth for us in these words of Jesus.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)
The world promises us joy in every imaginable way—money, pleasure, possessions, power, and so forth. But in the end, the world can never deliver on its promises. Sure, we may find some joy and satisfaction for a while, but it never lasts. God has designed it this way. The only joy that is “complete”—that is, lasting joy—is the joy that comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here is something to remember: a joyless Christian is really an oxymoron—a contradiction in terms. Jesus has promised to give us His joy, so when we find ourselves in a season where we are not experiencing His joy, we can be sure of one thing: we have moved away from God and allowed our hearts to beat for something smaller than Jesus.
So . . . how joyously have you been living lately? If your honest answer is, “Not very,” let me encourage you to appropriate the promises you have received from God. The psalmist said we will be filled with joy in His presence; perhaps a few extra minutes alone with Jesus will reignite the flames of joy in your heart, and that joy will flow into the hearts and lives of others.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!