The Joy of the Law
For the last 6 weeks I’ve been teaching a series at Calvary Escondido entitled “The Key to Unlocking Joy.” We’re finishing the series this Sunday, Christmas morning, with a message called “Joy to the World.”
My main thesis over the last 6 weeks has been that Jesus has opened the way into fullness of joy, but not all Christians experience increasing joy, unto it’s fullness, in their daily Christian journey. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). Evidently God desires that our joy would be full [in Him], for our fullness of joy in Him, is glorifying to Him. In other words, God is passionate about our joy, because He is zealous for His glory. So then, how does the believer promote the increase of joy in their life?
The scripture is replete with exhortations and encouragements to this end. We have in our series looked at three promoters – if you will – of our joy in God; gratitude, giving and serving. Since I won’t be able, in our series, to cover another important promoter of our joy, I thought it good to post an appendix here at Cross Connection.
Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
The word “blessed” in Psalm 1:1 could also be translated “happy.” We could therefore literally read this verse, “Happy is the man who walks not…” Thus, we can promote the increase of our joy in God by avoiding the way of ungodly sinfulness in our lives. Further more, God’s law becomes our joyful delight as we meditate in and upon it day and night. It is incredibly important that we not fail to recognize that all of God’s commands in the bible are ultimately promises for our joy. Important, as it is difficult for us to actually believe that His law can become our delight.
Prior to conversion many people see God’s law as the killer of joy, not the promoter of it. Our flesh is convinced that happiness is found in sex, and drink, and whatever other means that has pleasure as it’s end. When a sinner is saved by grace and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, their [wrong] thinking is not wholly reformed at conversion; not at all. Some carry into their Christian life the view that God means to remove all those things which bring happiness, because “all of those things are sinful.” Don’t get me wrong, many of those things, in the wrong context, are in fact sinful. The problem is that we quickly buy the lie, which the enemy is happy to sell us, that those things actually bring us [lasting] happiness.
There is pleasure in sin, but it is quickly passing and ultimately ends in joyless guilt. Continuing in sin as a Christian bears this truth to reality in our lives; if you want to be a joyless disciple, persist in sin. But, if we will reject the wisdom of the world, in favor of the wisdom of God, we will find that His law promotes our joy and therefore it [the law] becomes our delight.
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Love it, Miles. Dare I quote John Piper? “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” It’s an awesome thing to understand that our desire to be happy and God’s desire to be glorified are not at odds. The question isn’t, “Does God want us to be happy?” Rather, the question is, “In WHAT does God want us to find greatest joy?” When we pursue our greatest pleasure in God Himself we find the only lasting source of joy and pleasure and give God mad glory.
The thoughts that we have which tell us that we would not be happy if we were in constant fellowship with the Lord stems from the blindness caused by the original sin of unbelief and has been and continues to be compounded by the subsequent sins of rebellion committed by us all.
Jesus said “he who follows Me will no longer live in darkness”. In this statement Jesus is saying in no uncertain terms that we are blind.
There cold never be a more joyful place than God’s presence and Will; ever.
It is illogical that it could be any other way.
The Creator of us all could only ever be good and perfect and loving. Again, it is logically impossible for it to be any other way, for we could not even concieve of what is good and perfect and joyous if the God who created us was not those things already and conversely, we could never know the depths of mans depravity and the exceeding sinfulness of sin if not for a glimpse of the eternal goodness which is the very essence of His nature. God is good.
Lord, help my unbelief.