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Thursday 8 June 2023

No More Joy


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You can’t outsmart God. Every good thing comes from God above. This is one of the most clear and profound teachings in Scripture. Food, wine, sex, friendship, possessions and more are all good things given to us by God. But what people often forget, because they want to ignore God, or they just get stuck in some foolish sin, is that our ability to enjoy these things also comes from God. So, if you think you can reject God, and simply go on as if nothing has happened, whether at the individual level or the societal level, you are very wrong. 

God warns us that he will take the joy out of the blessings that he has given people, if we refuse to acknowledge him. He says this rather directly to the Israelites in Malachi 2:2, “2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.”

This world is the Lord’s and everything in it, and the enjoyment, the proper enjoyment of everything within it, can only come from God. The hedonist can pursue pleasure with every pleasure cell in their body, but they will eventually hit a wall. Whether it is sex, drugs, alcohol or rock’n’roll, they will hit the wall eventually. The only question is how hard will they hit it? Some hit it harder than others. 

Without giving God the glory and the thanks for what we have, and rolling it on up to God, we cannot really enjoy what he has given us. Because if we want to replace him with something else, he will simply take our joy in that thing away as well. Not because he is malicious, because he is not. But simply because he gives us over to what we want. If we want to be away from God, he will grant that. And remember, all good things come from God above. Including our ability to enjoy all good things.

Jeremiah warned the Israelites in a similar way, “13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). To seek to try and enjoy this world without God, is like seeking to enjoy drinking from a foundation of dirt. It is pointless, tasteless and lacks all nourishment. The soul will begin to die of thirst. 

God is our source of life, and this is true also for the abundant life. Without him, much of this world will become hollow, dry and less full of life. None of the gifts God has created for us in this world are designed to satisfy our souls, there is eternity in the heart of man and only an eternal God can fulfil that desire.

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