December 23, 2015

Joyful Desire

Written by Tripp Prince

Joyful Desire 12.23

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 23, 2015

By Tripp Prince.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

When I was a boy, this time of year brought about one of the great highlights of childhood: the Christmas “wish list.” It was a learned art form, carefully selected and constructed over the weeks leading up to Christmas. Of course, I couldn’t simply put anything and everything I wanted on this list! I had to closely evaluate the longings of my heart, and carefully select the toys, games, or activities that promised to fulfill these longings.

Now, as a young child I clearly did not frame this experience as the quest to fulfill my “deepest desires,” but looking back, this is exactly what it was- seeking the possessions that promised to bring happiness, excitement, and joy. I’m often amazed by how little these desires changed as I entered into adulthood.

One of the great lies we have believed is that our desires can be met and fulfilled with possessions. If we aren’t happy, if we lack joy, if our life seems meaningless, we assume that we simply haven’t yet found the right possession. Our Christmas list must still be incomplete!

But what if joy is found, not in the acquisition of possessions, relationships, or experiences, but in the desire itself?

As C.S. Lewis once said, “all Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be’.” To be joyful isn’t simply to arrive at a state of completed happiness, but it is the continual desire for that which can never be exhausted. In short, joy is desire.

This is seen throughout the Psalms, where the author experiences the full range of human emotion and experience. Yet, in good times and bad, in sorrow and in happiness, joy can be found in the quest to know God. To earnestly seek and thirst after God is to experience joyful desire, regardless of the happiness or pain we may experience.

One of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most enduring cantatas is BWV 147, commonly heard in our culture at wedding ceremonies. However, Bach wrote this piece for the Advent season in which we now find ourselves. Interestingly, the words later associated with this great composition perfectly capture for us this picture of joyful desire, for they show us that Jesus and Jesus alone is our source of joy, the one we should desire and to whom our souls aspire. If joy feels distant and unreachable this season, look afresh to Jesus and in him find the joy that comes from desiring God above all else.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Prayer: Father, awaken in me a renewed desire for you and fill me afresh with the joy that comes from knowing you.

Related Readings: Psalm 4:6-8; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 27:5-7; Philippians 4:4-5; 1 Peter 4:12-13

Post/Tweet this today: In sorrow and in happiness, joy can be found in our quest to know God. #joyfuldesire #WisdomHunters

Worship Resource: 5 minute video- Gaither’s African Children’s Choir: Walking in the Light

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