God wants us to passionately pursue JOY.
What? Wait… the church has always told me I need to take up my cross, count the cost, follow the rules, I surrender all… right? Loving God requires letting go of what I want so that I can do what God wants… right?
Right. God wants your life to ring with joy.
A relationship with Jesus is not about what we sacrifice for Him, or a new set of rules that rob us of freedom. JOY! Christian faith and life is about being set free to pursue the deepest joy imaginable. THAT IS GOSPEL. That is why I want to be a Pastor. It is my heartbeat.
I’m in a seminary class right now on Christian Ethics, which has been pointing us again and again to the sovereign authority of the God’s Word as our moral construct. Depending on your life story, that statement might either make you do a little internal cheer and fist-pump for Jesus, or it may totally make you squirm… like I’m going to get my rulebook all up in your business. Fist-pumpers and skeptics alike can take a breath, because I’m not going into “why my morals are better than yours” mode.
We have been discussing alternatives to Biblical morality… hedonism, for example. The pursuit of pleasure as the determiner of what is right and wrong. I think hedonism devoid of Christ is just empty staggering toward regret and isolation and death. Pleasure is a gift of God, sure… but it’s fleeting. The moral construct of the Bible is rooted in something far deeper. But again, this isn’t a post about right and wrong, per se. It’s about why we ARE in the first place. Why we exist, and the reason for Jesus’ coming to earth. This is the deep down stuff of life… not just the rulebook.
To my heathen friends (insert winky face here), you non-churchy ones out there, my guess is this post most likely won’t ruffle your feathers too badly. As long as I’m not too pushy on whole right and wrong thing, you’ll probably be able to ignore this one. You’d be missing out… but the choice is yours.
On the other hand, it’s my solidly entrenched churchy friends who may take me to task today. I think I’m going to say some things here in the next few days that buck against the way Christians think. So give me a minute here while I pull my bulls-eye t-shirt out of storage. You can load up. Putting it on now. And here we go…
(1) God is wildly, passionately, zealously, jealously committed to the glory of His own name. This stands in contrast to the misconception we have growing up in church believing that God’s love and Jesus’ ministry is focused primarily on US.
(2) Far from being a hyperbolic cosmic ego trip, this truth is the most wildly loving foundation possible for our relationship with Him.
(3) BECAUSE God is so passionately God-focused, He has made us and redeems us in order that we might find our ultimate fulfillment in the the praise of His glory, at all times, right now and thoughout eternity.
(4) This is the greatest possible news. This is pure gospel. That we have been created to and saved not unto begrudging servitude, but unto the passionate pursuit of JOY. Not mere pleasure, or happiness which is fleeting, but a pursuit of soul-thrilling JOY that deepens and expands forever into the infinite glory of God.
(5) Far from making Christianity all about US, this truth reveals that the polar opposite is true… God receives greater glory as we find greater JOY in Him. The intrinsic purpose of God and the created purpose of man find their mutual fulfillment in our making much of God. Our joy is found in His glory!
My heart is beating fast for this. Do you see that this changes EVERYTHING? Maybe if you are skeptical about religion this just sound like a bunch of church-speak hoo-haw. I get that. Let me break it down for you…
It’s true… God wants to wreck your life. He’s up front about that. This is no bait and switch. If you’re not pursuing ever-deepening joy in Him alone, you’re missing out. God wants to wreck your life to give you a better one. He literally wants you to experience life-changing joy forever.
These are truths that are repeated again and again and again throughout the Bible, and the five points above work together to create a latticework of interdependant truths that help me understand the foundation of my faith and ministry passion. They are simply too profoundly significant for me to adequately cover in one blog post. Or in a hundred blog posts. Or in a hundred books.
But over the next several days, I’ll take a look at these truths point by point. This Christian life is a joyful adventure, not begrudging service in order to secure an eternity outside of hell.
God wants you to pursue JOY. I believe that as deeply as I believe anything in my life. Maybe you needed to hear that today. Maybe your whole life is about to change…
‘god wants to wreck your life :: pursue joy :: part one” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.