“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1: 8-9
This week I was thinking back to high school and the time I went on my first real date. I was over-the-moon and it was hard to contain my excitement. I was so revved up that I decided to clean my room. Now, for those who may know me, cleaning my room is one of last things I ever want to do. I would rather do homework and almost any other annoying task before doing that. However, that day was different. And for the first time ever, I actually felt joy in cleaning, not only once the job was accomplished, but throughout the whole menial process.
A similar situation happened a few days ago, however it was a bit different. I started my last year of school about a month ago and though I am so excited to finally graduate, it’s a struggle some days. Often, I am just going through the motions without a whole lot of motivation. I don’t know if I am even going to use a lot of the things I am learning and it can be so easy to find my work useless sometimes, especially when I think about the incredible knowledge and glory in pursuing God and how much my classes pale in comparison.
Last Tuesday, I really did not want to be at school. My classes were boring and I was just in a negative mood about everything. My mood changed a bit the next day though. I took a test in the morning, swam some laps and treated myself to an omelet at a favorite coffee shop where I did some homework. After finishing up some things, I opened my bible and soaked in God’s beautiful words. After, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart to go home and pray. So that’s what I did. I shut my door, turned off the lights and came before God.
What I experienced is what I want everyone to experience. It was pure joy. But this joy isn’t what the world knows it to be. It isn’t based on good circumstances or good fortune. Nothing particularly great happened that day to warrant that joy. I didn’t do as well on that test as I’d hoped. My omelet was delicious, but that happiness faded when it was finished and I had to go back to the homework I really didn’t want to do.
I didn’t want to leave my room. Even after being there for maybe 45 minutes, I could have stayed for so much longer if I didn’t have class later. After leaving though, that joy didn’t leave.
I went to class and even though I wasn’t particularly interested in what we were learning, I still was joyful. The next day, that joy was still there. Nothing in my life changed and nothing exciting happened. I went to those same classes I had on Tuesday but the clouds had lifted from my foggy head. On Friday I did a significant amount of work and read things that were pretty dull. But ya know what? Again, that joy was still there. What’s even crazier, I was just as joyful then as I was on Saturday when I was at the Buckeye’s football game and watched them slaughter UNLV.
If you have ever been in love, you may relate to some of the things I am describing. It’s amazing how love can alter our perspectives and make life worth living in boring or even in dark times. Being in love with Jesus though, is so much sweeter. And when you fall in love with Him, everything will pale in comparison. It’s a love so relentless and forever sustaining, that “is better than life itself” (Psalm 63:3).
This kind of joy can only be experienced by giving your life to Jesus. It’s the only joy that isn’t determined by life’s circumstances. Even when your life is in shambles, there’s always a reason for joy with Christ. The love and meaning you are searching for is found there. Only through Him can we experience true life. Take that step today, God desperately wants you to encounter his earth-shattering love! He’s closer than you think…
“ From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17: 26-27)