Earlier this year, at a local event, I was busy greeting old friends and making new connections. One old friend stopped over to say hi, and had gone through some changes in life and ministry. He had recently moved on from his church, and was trying to figure out what was next in his life.
I felt there was something missing.
He was trying to put on a good face, but I could tell there was sadness in his spirit. All of us walk through seasons of sadness, at times related to weather, or loved ones passing, or countless hardships that might come our way.
What I couldn't get away from about my friend's demeanor that day, is how much our identity can be intrinsically fastened to our job, our leadership role, looming opportunities, and temporary titles.
We are not what we do
We are more than a work-horse. Your job will never satisfy you completely. God made you so that your heart can only be satisified by Christ. God made you for a whole lot of joy, and peace, fulfillment and satisfaction. But you cannot find it apart from Christ. C.S. Lewis said, "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."
A long time ago, a man by the name of Demos Shakarian wrote a book called The Happiest People on Earth, about the Christians he knew and had come in contact with.
Similarly, I remember walking out of a service with my buddy Luke many years ago in Duluth, Minnesota, and we ran into a man on the street whose eyes were glued to those coming out of the church service. He had been on his way to commit suicide and was floored by the joy of the people walking out of that church.
There should be a deep joy in the life of every Christian
God's best life for us includes lots of joy. Even in the midst of trials, loss, personal pain, joblessness - we have an unseated joy because of our identity and authority in Christ. I blogged about this a few months ago: what we already have because Christ went to the cross for us and prepared in heaven for us is greater than our wildest dreams realized. We already have it. It is already ours.
One of the first fruits we see if the Holy Spirit is in control of our lives is joy. Paul calls the early believers over and over and over again to rejoice and live a life of great joy.
It is a shame if we live our whole Christian life, never trying to count the countless blessings we have in Christ, and never tapping into the inexhaustible reserves of heaven's joy.
We shouldn't live under any cloud for long
Heaven is our home. Our sins are blotted out. Our future is secured. Our hope is eternal. Our joy is Christ alone.