Joy is at times elusive and fleeting. We find that our circumstances tend to power our joy and we can find ourselves discouraged and lagging in our spirits. It never dawns on us at the time that our joy is being fueled by an intermittent source in our circumstances. Sometimes that source is fresh and invigorating when things are good. At other times, the source has become stagnant when things turn sour and we are left to limp along in our lives. We never think to consider a better source of joy!
Better than our circumstances as our source of joy is a truth that (if you hold on to and make it your focus) can provide constant streams of joy. Consider what David said in Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” That word “blessed” means happy or joyful. David’s circumstances weren’t always great. He spent years being hunted by King Saul. But David found a joy in the forgiveness and righteousness that God offered him!
Paul quotes Psalm 32 in Romans 4 and couples David’s faith to that of Abraham. In verse 3 Paul writes, “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” What we learn from this is that God gave to Abraham (and offers to us) His righteousness without cost. We receive the credit for Christ’s perfectly righteous life. “Counted” is used in meaning, “to put to one’s account,” as in a bank account. If a deposit was made to your checking account for 1 million dollars, how would you feel? Excited? Full of Joy? Wouldn’t that be great? You didn’t earn the money-it was put in your account by an anonymous donor. You would have received something that you could never earn yourself and would be overwhelmed with thankfulness at the generosity of the donor. It would immediately skyrocket you from gloom to joyful exuberance.
Now consider this: one hundred years from now, you will not care about how much was in your checking account. It won’t matter in eternity. You need to understand that you have been offered something far more valuable. A gift should make you overjoyed and overwhelmed with thankfulness. God offers to forgive you of your sins through Christ’s death on the cross and to give you His righteousness. It was not an anonymous gift, but it was far beyond what your could afford. Christ paid the price so that you can stand before the Father one day and enter into an eternal joy that is beyond imagination. The problem is that the reality of our salvation has lost it’s luster and we have moved on to other sources that will never fuel our joy.
In the end, we have to decide where we set our focus. Joy comes from fully understanding what we have been given as a child of God. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) Nothing can take that away unless we allow it to. You can focus on your life here and now and live through the constant ups and downs of a joy based on circumstances. That’s the life of fleeting joy. But to be blessed as David was blessed! Happy and joyful at what Christ has done and what you have given. The Christian is richer than a millionaire! He or she just doesn’t remember it. Or doesn’t really believe it. And it shows our lack of joy.