We sometimes get the wrong view of childlike faith. Take Christmas for example. We look back longingly for the simple time when we were kids and we knew that our gifts would be under the tree, our Christmas dinner would be on the table and we would have plenty of time for rejoicing and celebrating and playing. Now as adults we know the worry of the budget to buy those gifts and the food. We feel the press of the schedule that squeezes our hearts and minds back to work even while we are sitting with family and friends.
It is not that when we were younger we did not understand those pressures, it’s just that we trusted our parents to handle it for us. Likewise, our faith today is not a blind one where we ignore the pressures and the problems we face, rather it is a childlike one that endures the difficulties while trusting our Heavenly Father to provide for us in His way and in His time. Christianity is not a religion of fake happiness until the real thing comes. Christian joy is not a phony smile covering a crying heart. It is the joy of a genuine faith in a genuine God who has made a genuine promise to you.
It is interesting in verse six how we have both joys - “rejoice” - and struggles at the same time. The Christian life is not one of perfection or lack of troubles.
Do not beat yourself up if you do not feel joyful all the time. Do not think you have failed as a Christian if you are not always bursting with joy. Often, how we feel does not measure up to what we know. If you have accepted Christ you know He is in your life and what He has done for you, but sometimes in the daily grind of life you take your eyes off of Him. Sometimes you simply do not feel joyful. That is okay, perfect joy will be realized when we are home with Him. In the meantime, it takes keeping your eyes on Jesus to remain in His joy.
Far too often when we feel like we have no joy it is because we are looking for it anywhere and everywhere except the one place we can find it. We seek out distractions instead of discipline. We look to entertainment instead of enlightenment. When you look to the world for joy instead of to Jesus you will find only a poor imitation, you will find only fools gold.
Fools gold is the fake yellowish crystal that tricked many miners into thinking they had struck it rich and had found what they were looking for. However, this abundant rock was worthless. It glittered and promised but it did not deliver. Such is the promise of much this world has to offer. But if you can keep your eyes on Jesus and actively seek out your joy in Him even in the midst of the trials and struggles of this world then you will find, as verse seven tells us, something more valuable than even real gold. Something refined and pure that will last forever.
We realize that joy is not a burden for us when we realize that our joy is not found in this world and is not tied to our present circumstances. We discover true joy when we realize that God is actively laying the foundation for our joy, not in passing but for eternity.
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