Isaiah 64:5b says this:
You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
God meets those who joyfully do things that are pleasing to him.
Here’s an even more pointed passage when Israel refused to serve the Lord with gladness:
Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.
(Deuteronomy 28:47-48 ESV)
The Bible commands us to serve the Lord with gladness! Have you ever thought that?
OK, yes…this is a struggle, but don’t underestimate this command or how important the Bible says it is. Why is it that we struggle even in church with this? We have been saved from God’s wrath and an eternity in Hell apart from God, yet some days who can tell? Us worship leaders get to see your faces, don’t forget. 🙂
Even still, the reality is that we all struggle with walking in joy. Life is hard and pulls on us, weighing us down. This doesn’t make the command in Scripture any less important. In John Piper’s excellent book “When I Don’t Desire God” he goes through several ways to fight for joy. I highly recommend reading this book if you are struggling to walk in joy and have your mind refreshed in the greatness of our God and the joy that he brings us like nothing else can. Check out the book, pray thru it, soak it in, walk thru the Word with it…and here are a few things to whet your whistle to use in the fight for joy:
1. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.
2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly.
3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life.
4. Learn the secret of gutsy guilt – how to fight like a justified sinner. (Don’t confuse Justification and Sanctification!)
5. Realize that the battle is primarily a fight to see God for who he is.
6. Meditate on the Word of God day and night.
7. Pray earnestly and continually for open heart-eyes and an inclination for God.
8. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.
9. Spend time with God-saturated people who help you see God and fight the fight.
10. Be patient in the night of God’s seeming absence.
11. Get the rest and exercise proper diet that your body was designed by God to have.
12. Make a proper use of God’s revelation in nature.
13. Read great books about God and biographies of great saints.
14. Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (witness and mercy).
15. Get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself out for the unreached.
PS: Desiring God has posted a free e-Book version of When I Don’t Desire God. Check it out by clicking here!
For more on When I Don’t Desire God, check out previous post here.