One of the great blessings of my work is morning devotions lead by our president, Jon Bloom.
Yesterday he was making the point to remember who God is and who we are as we deal with the anxieties of the day using Luke 12:28-34. But he began by saying:
We are all leaky buckets.
That image was so good and so helpful.
There are days when I feel ‘full’ of the grace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Those are good days! Not unexpectedly, they are more likely to come when I am filling myself up with God through prayer, time in God’s word and time with God’s people. My desire for my own joy encourages it!
And when I neglect those same disciplines, the leaky bucket starts to empty. Ironically, the more I neglect getting close to God, the less I want to pursue my own joy in him. That’s a terrible cycle.
And, of course, there are those days when we must fight for joy. Pastor John provided some helps for us in his sermon, The Fruit of Hope: Joy, that he delivered back in 1986:
How then do we obey the commandment to rejoice? How do we fight for joy in the ups and downs of everyday life?
First, let us acknowledge that by nature we are sinners and helpless to become the kind of people who rejoice in the glory of God rather than our own glory.
Second, let us cry out to the God of hope that he would send his Holy Spirit and pour the love of God into our hearts.
Third, let us set our minds on the biblical expressions and evidences of God’s love for repentant sinners. For example:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
And so, finally, when the love of God has filled us with hope in the glory of God, we rejoice in that hope, and again I say to you, REJOICE!
I was a pretty good legalist for the first 2/3rds of my life, believing if I did the ‘good’ things (prayer and Bible reading) then God owed me (like a non-disabled child). When he revealed himself as greatest treasure, the legalist in me still exists, but he gets quieted (most days – that’s still a battle!) by remembering who God is and pursuing him and getting closer to him.
So, a simple plea today – remember and fill your leaky bucket. Seek your own joy in the only place where there is real, everlasting, infinite measures of it: Jesus Christ.