Acts 27:13-44; 1 Samuel 3; Psalm 51
“Where does your joy come from?” Have you ever been asked that question? People who know what we have gone through over the last year and a half will ask us that question. I’ll talk to them about my faith; I’ll talk to them about the forgiveness of God and they’ll usually agree with me about having faith and knowing God’s forgiveness. Then they’ll say, “But I don’t have that joy.” I don’t know how to answer that. Perhaps the problem people have is not really walking with the source of all joy.
It would be easy to think that joy would come from a sense of completeness, or, even, perfection. The problem with that view is that no one is perfect, or even complete on earth. We all make mistakes. We all sin. Some of the worst sinners in the Bible were Paul and David. Paul became a great evangelist, and David not only became King of Israel, he was called “a man after God’s own heart” by God Himself. When David sinned, he knew how to confess and make things right again. Listen to these words: Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)
Psalm 51 is an amazing confession. In that Psalm, David not only let God know that he was wrong, he continued by asking God to forgive him. Sometimes, even when we’re forgiven, there’s still a tentative relationship with the other person. David went beyond asking for God’s forgiveness, he asked God to restore the joy of his salvation. He understood that forgiveness and his relationship with God needed the joy that comes from walking with God. So many people live in fear of what God’s going to do to them that they accept his forgiveness, but then do their best to avoid talking with Him or spending any kind of time with Him. They aren’t able to forgive themselves, so while they might say out loud that God has forgiven them, deep in their hearts they don’t believe it.
Are you experiencing joy in your walk with God? Have you experienced the mercy of God through Jesus and the grace to overcome your sin? Or are you letting the past consume you in guilt. Perhaps you know that God has forgiven you, but you can’t quite forgive yourself. Perhaps you can’t forgive yourself because you’ve asked for God’s forgiveness for the same sin again and again. Have joy, oh Christian! God keeps forgiving. Forgive yourself – if God forgave you, follow and obey Him. He knew what He was doing when He forgave you. Trust His judgment enough to realize that if He forgave you, He wants you to forgive yourself. Then, don’t stop there in your relationship with God. Ask Him to restore the joy of your salvation. Ask Him to keep walking with you so that you can experience His presence, because His presence is the source of all joy.
Oh Lord, restore the joy of my salvation. Remind me of Your forgiveness and Your presence. Let my joy lead others to see the joy that they are looking for.