Thought for Today

We set out in the pursuit of pricey possessions, profitable portfolios, impressive careers, and busy social calendars because we have been led to believe that these things will bring us joy. However, when we secure our pursuits, we quickly learn that lasting joy doesn't come from getting what we want.
When we reach our goals, we only experience temporary happiness — a happiness that will end as soon as we lose the object of our pursuit. Happiness fades as our retirement portfolios decline. Happiness disintegrates as our business deals go south. Happiness eludes us when we place unrealistic hopes in the people and things of this world.
Joy, on the other hand, has only one source and His name is Jesus. The Apostle Paul tells us about this genuine joy in his epistle to the Philippians. In fact, he shares about the kind of joy that people can experience when they face the toughest times. Have you ever met someone who is experiencing inexplicable joy? They may be walking through the deepest, darkest valley, and yet they are content, peaceful, and joyful. You may have also met their polar opposites — people who have everything in this world but are absolutely miserable. The best of circumstances cannot provide lasting joy, nor can the worst squelch it.
Today there are more Christians who are fearful, anxious, worried, discouraged — and yes, joyless — than I have seen in a long time. They need to learn how to reclaim their joy. As Christians we all received joy in connection with our salvation. When we live in obedience to the Lord, we are going to fully experience that joy. Yet disobedience to the Word of God will diminish our joy; it will cover up our joy. Anything that comes between us and Jesus will rob us of our only lasting joy.
Whenever we are obedient to the Word of God, our joy is going to deepen, even in the tough times, even in the difficult times, even in the dark days. And that is why James said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2).
No matter what difficulties we face today, whatever financial hardships or internal struggles, we can still rejoice because everything in this world is only temporary. When our hope is in Jesus Christ and in our eternal home with Him in heaven, we will remain joyful in the midst of the most turbulent storm. But when we become so focused on this world, on our strategies, on our styles, on what we like and dislike, we forget about our eternal home.
What is the secret of Paul's joy? We find the answer in his own words: "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:4-6).
Paul was confident that the God who brought us salvation will keep us in His hands. What can touch us when we have the assurance of everlasting life? In light of our daily struggles, our hurting relationships, our dwindling bank accounts, none of these things can possibly compare to the joy of knowing that our salvation is secure.
No matter what losses we face in this world, we can find joy in our eternal relationship with our Creator. Our houses may foreclose, but we can never lose our heavenly home. Friends and loved ones may disappoint us, but our Savior will never leave us. Government and society may become godless, but God will prevail in Truth for eternity. Our lives may crumble around us, but our eternity in heaven will always be secure. And that is reason for great joy!
Greg S.

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