A steady diet of my words may cause sorrow.
A steady diet of His words will produce joy.
What will I choose to eat today?
Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 15:16 (NASB)
“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.”
Many of us confuse the definition of “joy” to be synonymous with the definition of “happiness.” They are, however, two different things. Happiness describes the emotions we feel when good things abound. It is depends on the circumstances, events, and items in our lives. Joy is a characteristic of our soul—a quality of our spirit—we either embrace or refuse, whether or not we realize it. Our happiness can be controlled by outside sources. Our joy results from what we ingest into our hearts and minds.
Our scripture today says that the words of God became a joy. Jesus told us, as recorded in John’s gospel, that He had spoken these truths so that His joy would be in us, and that our joy may be full (15:11 & 17:13). Jesus is the Word made flesh—the Living Word. It seems clear from scripture that we cannot know genuine joy apart from Jesus Christ.
Many of us search for “things” to bring us fulfillment, whether it’s people, accomplishments, or activities. A new pair of shoes would make me happy, but not necessarily create joy. Spending a relaxing, sunshiny day out on a beach would make me very happy, and I would be joyfully praising God for the opportunity! However, my joy is not dependent on receiving those shoes or spending the day at the beach. Joy, instead, is steadfast – a part of my character, unwavering – not tossed back and forth with every circumstance. If my day is filled with struggles, trials, and disappointments – I may not be happy, but my joy is not diminished.
Joy is the assurance of our salvation – the confirmation of our identity – in and through Christ. The root of our joy is the Living Word. The more we “eat the word,” the more our joy increases, because God is the delight of our hearts. As we come to know and trust Him more, our understanding that He has created us and called us by His name also increases. This, in turn, causes our joy to increase. If we never “eat the word,” we cannot come to know our God and understand our identity in Christ. As a result, our joy will never be full.
Pull up a chair to the banquet table already prepared for you. Don’t push away the entrée so lovingly offered to you. Eat the word! Seek the Lord and He will be found. Delight yourself in His word. Study the scriptures. Heed the words of our Savior—the Living Word. Cling to His teachings. Find joy – full joy – and know you, too, have been called by His name!
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Psalm 51:12; Habakkuk 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 2:20; Psalm 119:111