The joy that surrounds us!

Have you ever become so focused on problems that you fail to experience the joy surrounding you? There is a problem that I’ve been chasing and I’m working very hard to fix it. While it is suitable for me to use my gifts and talents to solve problems, it is wrong to let the issue consume me.

While reading today’s scripture (Psalm 106), the following verses were convicting in that my heart has been more “me” (and my problems) focused rather than outward, focusing on others and gratitude for what God has done and continues to do in my life.

7 Our ancestors in Egypt
    were not impressed by the Lord’s miraculous deeds.
They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.
    Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.

13 But they soon forgot his works;
    they did not wait for his counsel.

21 They forgot God, their Savior,
    who had done great things in Egypt, (Psalm 106:7, 13, 21)

To make matters worse, upon forgetting God’s goodness, whatever we put before him becomes an idol. That’s what we see of the Israelites in verses 19-20. They made an idol and worshipped it.

It seems my problems and all sorts of other things have become idols. This focus left me feeling down and losing sleep. Yesterday I said to someone “I don’t really like myself right now”.

Fortunately, if we listen to the Holy Spirit and honestly confess our sins we are forgiven, redeemed, and set free. With a renewed commitment to be more grateful and to put God in his rightful place, I can say the joy has returned.

In addition to gratitude, what brings greater joy is serving others as we were not made to fulfill our own desires; we were made to give our lives away, with the ultimate example being Jesus. Today I read two questions Benjamin Franklin asked himself each day:

  1. What good shall I do this day?
  2. What good have I done today?

The answer to these two daily questions can be a good measure of whether we are living for ourselves and our idols, or a greater purpose, in line with our creator. Question two might also help us sleep a bit better. Today, how will you choose?