This post was written by EBG Contributing Writer Brandon Sutton. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, Indiana and as the Director of Grace House Ministries, a Christ-centered men’s recovery home. He is the grateful husband of Sherrie and the proud father of Emma.
In his sermon entitled, “The Weight of Glory”, C.S. Lewis wrote,
“If we consider the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Oh, how true this statement is! God does not see us as creatures who are too passionate. He sees us as creatures who have misplaced true passion. We’ve settled for lesser things. As Lewis said, we’re like children who are content playing in the mud. We don’t know the true joys of soaking in the warm sun on a beach overlooking the Pacific.
The truth is we are all seeking for joy. That’s indisputable. Whether you’re the drunk or the businessmen, the mother of three or the prostitute, the athlete or the lazy glutton…whatever you do on a daily basis, you do it because you are seeking some kind of joy and fulfillment. And here’s the thing, there’s nothing wrong with seeking joy. There is nothing sinful about wanting fulfillment. What makes seeking joy right or wrong, however, is not the pursuit itself but where you seek it.
Consider Israel. Through Jeremiah, the Lord chastised them saying, “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:12-13). Israel “committed two evils.” First, they abandoned the Lord. Second, they pursued idols in the place of God. Jeremiah compared these idols to broken cisterns, underground water storage devices for rainwater. These cisterns, however, were broken and let the water seep out, proving to be useless. Water was stored because it is necessary for life. Water also satisfies when we’re thirsty. But, if the cisterns can hold no water, they are useless.
The analogy is crystal clear. When we forsake God, pursuing joy and satisfaction in the things of the world (idols), it’s like turning to broken water cisterns when we’re thirsty. We come up spiritually dry and empty. Yet, this is what so many of us do. Again, like the children in Lewis’ sermon, we settle for lesser things.
We need a holiday at the sea. We need to be introduced to something greater that reveals we’ve settled for lesser joy. What we need is an awe-inspiring view of God’s glory in Jesus Christ; to believe Jesus when He said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
We were made to pursue joy and satisfaction. This is how our hearts function. Our hearts are like a bottomless pit, a void which the finite idols of the world cannot fill. Yet, our hearts overflow when we turn to the infinite Christ for whom we were made (Colossians 1:16). Christians should pursue joy in Christ. Once we’ve been introduced to joys of God’s Son, we’ll never again return to the mud pies in the slum. Once we drink from the everlasting waters of Jesus, we’ll stop tapping into dry cisterns.
So, dear Christians, let us obey the words of Scripture which say, “Delight yourself (literally, seek joy) in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).