Monday, March 29, 2010

Is One Day Better?

The chorus of a popular praise song says:
Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
Than thousands elsewhere

I want to ask you a question: Do you believe that?  It sure is easy to sing when we are surrounded by other people singing the same thing, but our lives would tell another story.  Maybe I shouldn’t speak for you.  I will just talk about the reality of my life.

In my heart I desire to be with God and to follow Jesus in everything I say and do, but too often I am distracted by the things of this world.  Rather than living a Spirit guided life I live through the cravings of the flesh.  To me the flesh represents the physical world which is all around us.  It is the reality many of us find ourselves living in.  We get caught up with everyone else in the pursuit of possessions, careers, and romantic relationships.  We don’t really believe that happiness is found in God alone.  When we live by the desires of the flesh we believe we need the things of this world to make us happy and content. 

The sad truth is  there is nothing this world can offer us which will make us happy, even the love of our lives will not make us happy if we have not first found our joy and purpose in God.  1 John 2:17 reads; And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves.  But if you do the will of God, you will live forever (NLT). The things that the flesh convinces us that we need for happiness will fade away.  They do not have the power to add meaning and joy to our lives because they are just temporary while we were made for eternity.  The only thing that will bring true happiness to our lives is to be part of God's eternal Kingdom. 

The dreams and plans we have to bring about happiness in our lives have to be abandoned while we find joy in our relationship with God.  Even the good dreams we have must be put aside while we live by the desire of our heart, the desire to know God.

I believe one of the reasons God allows our dreams to shatter and to go unfulfilled is so that we will discover our deepest desire to know Him.  When we live by the lesser desires of the flesh we will never discover the very thing that will actually bring joy to our lives.  Therefore we need to arrive at a point in our lives when we can say what Erwin McManus wrote in Seizing Your Divine Moment; “Yet one moment lived for God is of greater value than an eternity lived without Him.”  One moment lived for God is greater than 75 years loving your earthly dearest.  One moment lived for God is greater than being a doctor and saving lives.  One moment lived for God is greater than a family who loves you.  One moment lived for God is the greatest of all the pleasures we can experience.

I have only begun to understand the truth of this.  It is so easy to get caught up with the desires my flesh is craving to indulge in rather than following the new desires of the heart given to me by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Those times I have listened to my heart have been some of the greatest times in my life.  Jesus said; “I have loved you just as the Father has loved me.  Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete” (John 15:9-11; NJB).

The source of Jesus’ joy is doing the will of His Father.  The way our joy will be complete is to put aside our dreams of a happy life so that we can follow after Jesus.  You  might not have the career you have always wanted or get married when you want to, but you will discover the joy that only God can give.

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