Where will I find my joy today? There are several choices I can make. There are different ways I can define “success”, and thus find joy in them.
I have a list of tasks before me. If I accomplish them all, I could find my joy in them. I could say that today was a good day, a meaningful day, a profitable day, because I achieved all the items on my to-do list.
I just spent some time reading God’s Word, reading a devotional, and reading a hymn story, too. My joy (my righteousness?) could come from that. My expectation for how the day will go could come from that. “Now see here, Lord, I’ve practiced my Christian disciplines for the morning, please make sure now that the day goes well, without conflict or strife. After all, I’ve held up my end of the bargain, now, please fulfill Your part.”
I have a music rehearsal tonight. If it goes well, particularly since it comes at the end of the day, I can use that as the definition of good day or bad day, and thus place my joy in its outcome.
What I want to learn, though, is that God Himself is my joy. Being with Him throughout the day is my life definition of “success”. I don’t have a more profound way of saying this. God, and all that He is for me in Jesus, is my portion. If I am not finding my ultimate joy in Him, if He is not my ultimate definition of a good day (and thus, all days are good, even if all days aren’t free from trials), then I am an idolator. I am worshiping something else, looking to it to fulfill not just my short-term needs for happiness, but perhaps even placing in it my eternal needs.
Which makes me realize that I can put God at a distance from me, because He is my eternal, heavenly joy. But what I see in front of me, what I can do today, what I can accomplish today (that will only be seen and recognized by me or a few in this moment) that is what I am placing my hope for present joy in.
Today, dear Lord, help me to place my hope for current and future joy in You. Help me to do the things that are before me, which are needful to do, but help me to do them for Your sake and in Your name. Help me think upon that which I have read in Your precious Word as a means to know You and love You more, just for Who You are. (Jer. 9:23-24)