During services last weekend, we heard about Grand Theft Joy. We discovered that as followers of Christ, we make decisions every day to either protect our joy or to allow the joy that God intends for us to be taken away. We allow our joy to be taken from us by “Joy Thieves” when we don’t protect the precious gift that God has given us through Jesus. All Joy Thieves seem normal – even healthy – until they aren’t kept in check. But there is one Joy Thief that is particularly relevant to us in Northern Virginia – busyness. If we aren’t careful, busyness steals joyfulness by keeping us from spending time with Jesus – the only source of true joy.
As a follow-up to that message, we have issued the 5-for-5 Challenge. We encourage you to spend five more minutes with Jesus than you do right now for the next five days (Monday through Friday). If you aren’t sure what that looks like or needed a fresh look at God, we’ve posted five short devotionals based on this week’s message.
Monday: Read Luke 10:38-42 carefully. Notice that Jesus does not contrast Martha’s busyness with Mary’s laziness. The text says that Mary “left” serving with Martha. Mary chose to leave her own serving (busyness) for something better. Read Psalm 43:4. God is your joy and, as you go to Him, He is your exceeding joy. That joy then spills over (remember the blocks illustration from the weekend teaching?) in worship and your intimacy deepens from “O God” to “my God.” Ask the Lord to help you bring these truths into your day.
Tuesday: Read Psalm 126:3. This is the heart of the Gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ – not what you do for God, but what He has done for you. Martha was doing for Jesus while Mary was learning who Jesus was and what His coming (birth, life, death, and resurrection) did for her. As you focus on what He has done for you, joy begins to fill you. Ask the Lord to take you deeper in your understanding of all that He has done for you.
Wednesday: Read Psalm 84:1-2. Spending time each day in the loveliness and beauty of who God is, His dwelling place, creates a deeper longing and yearning for Him. So much so that this yearning is likened to fainting from desire. The heart and flesh, in other words – all of us, sing with joy to Him. It becomes a joy to leave our busyness and sit in His presence like Mary. Ask the Lord to draw you to Himself in deeper ways as you experience joy in His presence.
Thursday: Read Psalm 27:4. David is seeking time with the Lord, just as Mary did. It is the “one thing” most important to Him, just as Jesus commended Mary for her “one thing.” David tells the Lord he wants to dwell in His presence for all the days of his life, to see His beauty. A follower of Christ has eternal life that begins the moment they trust Christ here on earth and continues without end into eternity. Ask the Lord to not only increase your joy, but to reveal His beauty as you spend increasing time with Him here on earth and prepare for eternity with Him.
Friday: Read Psalm 16:11. The passage promises fullness of joy in God’s presence forever. Not just joy, and not even exceeding joy -but fullness of joy now and forever. God is your joy, and as you spend time in His presence now, joy grows to fullness. You can’t have true lasting joy without being in God’s presence. Ask the Lord for an increasing desire for Him, for the joy of who He is. That desire will be fulfilled in eternity as you receive the fullness of complete joy in His presence forever.