Pursuing Joy

The past couple of years have been amazing for me. I got engaged, married Angela, and we had our son, Calvin, who my mom affectionately calls our “joy boy” and that couldn’t be a more apt description of Calvin, even though I still call him my Little Ninja. He’s the best baby in the world 98% of the time, and you don’t want to get me started on the other 2%. He lights up every room he’s in, and the little man doesn’t know a stranger.

There have definitely been ups and downs and moments of sheer exhaustion and borderline insanity — and that’s just me. I have no idea, outside of the extended grace of God, how Angela can get up even once, much less two or three times, to care for Calvin overnight and still manage to go work a high-stress, fast-paced job and not punch people on a daily basis. Angela has been an amazing source of inspiration through all of this, and has definitely served to help me hold it together in the more trying times.

And I…well, I’ve failed them. I love Angela and Calvin, and I do my best to serve them both and play with Calvin as much as I can while he’s awake, and am even instigating his walking at seven months old, much to Angela’s chagrin. So, some may look on from the outside and think everything’s all good. Honestly, at times it felt like it. But I’ve failed them.

I began looking at my family as my source of community and my wife and child as my source of joy. Certainly not consciously, and may have even started with good intentions. But, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Then somewhere along the line giving grace for not making it to church consistently, and not reading the Bible, or anything else, due to exhaustion became the norm. Now I look around and I see the shifts in my heart that make me not want to serve my wife. I see the tells of selfishness and pride, and it both disgusts me and fuels me at the same time. I see this desert in which I stand and know that I didn’t get here on purpose, but rather I didn’t purposefully avoid getting here.

Which brings me back to the gospel, as all desert trials should. Tired of the mirages of seeking joy in things and people that aren’t capable of fueling lasting joy or bearing that weight: I open the Bible to Galatians. It comes flooding back, all the heart checks and gospel imperatives to seek Christ above all. Because only Christ can fuel lasting joy.

John Piper is famously quoted saying “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” That quote and others like it served to fuel my Christian walk for many years. But tonight as I lay in bed unable to sleep, I realize that the converse is also true: We are most satisfied when we live for God’s glory.

Our joy is the fullest when we actively combat our selfish desires and wage war against the sin in our hearts.

For a couple weeks I’ve been standing in this wilderness wondering how I get back to Hope. But that’s the beauty of the gospel: Hope doesn’t wait for you to run back. He chases after you.

From the beginning the message of the gospel has always been “Repent, and believe.” Repent of sin and believe that Christ is Lord and Savior. That message holds just true for the mature Christian in his or her sanctification as it does for the person who has just felt the effectual call of God unto salvation.

So, husbands. Fathers. My challenge to you is this: repent with me.

Begin pursuing Christ first and foremost and let that fill you with joy. Repent and believe for the good of your soul and the good of your family.

May God give us His strength to pursue joy in Christ and serve our families to His glory and praise.

Amen.

2 responses to “Pursuing Joy

  1. Pingback: Constant Vigilance | TransformingWords

  2. The distinction you make between not arriving in the desert on purpose and not purposing to not arrive in the desert is a convicting reminder. Thank you. If we do not live deliberately, our default old man returns so easily. But thanks be to God that Hope and Grace and Love chase after us. That He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. That He remains faithful, even when we are faithless. It is who He is and He cannot deny Himself. I appreciate your honest reflection. It’s a helpful reminder to check myself and keep refocusing on Jesus.

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