Joy in Jesus is the Foundation for Joy in All Things

May 13, 2022

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.” Isaiah 55:1-2

When I was in high school, my physics class was given limited materials, mainly Popsicle sticks and wood glue, with which we were instructed to build a bridge with specific parameters. On the appointed day, all of us brought our bridges to class and they were placed over a gap between two desks. Then small weights were systematically hung to the bottom of the bridges to test and see how much weight they could bear. Of course, in that environment, the greatest thrill wasn’t just winning the most sturdy bridge, but also watching as structure after the structure was eventually obliterated under the increasing weight.

We knew they would all eventually be destroyed. We knew we couldn’t, for example, stand on top of them because these structures weren’t made to support that kind of mass.

There is a similarity between those science projects and the direction of our joy. If you look around you, you’ll see all kinds of things that you enjoy:

  • Opening Day of the baseball season. 
  • A steak perfectly grilled. 
  • Birthday parties. 
  • Christmas mornings. 
  • A good movie. 

And here’s the thing:

We should enjoy them. Not only is there nothing wrong in doing so, but there is actually everything right in doing so.

So long as we understand that there is a difference between enjoying something and finding our joy in something.

Take the first thing on that list – Opening Day. Freshly cut grass. The sound of a ballpark. The not-yet-too-hot sun of the spring. But what if it rains? Or what if there’s an emergency at work and you miss the first pitch? Or what if there’s something crazy like a labor stoppage and that day is delayed?!? Well, you might be disappointed, but you wouldn’t be crushed. And that’s the difference between enjoying and finding your joy.

Like the physics bridge of old, all these things and so many more were simply designed to be a source of joy. Not where we find our joy.  No, the weight of that expectation would simply be too much, and they would eventually be pulverized underneath it. In fact, there is really only one thing that is strong enough to sustain the weight of human expectation. Only one thing that is sturdy enough to bear up under the weight of our need for joy. 

And that is Jesus Himself.

Not only so, but only when we find our joy in Jesus are we actually free to rightly enjoy all these other things. That’s because we are no longer looking to those things to sustain our hearts, but are treating them as they were designed to be treated – as good things for our enjoyment. We are free to enjoy them without adding the weight of our hearts to them. 

And so our joy in Jesus is not only rightly placed, but it also becomes the foundation of our ability to rightly enjoy other things.

There are many things in life to enjoy today, friends. But only one that can bear the weight of your joy. 

Jesus alone. 

And He will never crumble.

Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor

To read more of Michael’s writing, check out his daily blog, Forward Progress