“As I’ve walked among Christians recently, around the world and especially here in America, I’ve seen that they’re all concerned and, to a certain degree, angry and disappointed. And I’m like, what did you expect the end times to be like? I mean, if anything, everything we see that is happening all around the world should encourage us.
You know, it reminds me of the two disciples on that Sunday morning who went all the way down to Emmaus. Remember that? They were disciples. They were not from the Sanhedrin or Pharisees or Sadducees. I mean, they were disciples. They knew Jesus. They heard every word He had to say. They knew what He had said regarding what He had to go through. It didn’t come as a surprise. And yet as they walked all the way from Jerusalem after they had heard from the woman that came to the tomb that morning that the tomb is empty, they were walking and talking with one another and they were what? Sad!
They had just heard that He’s not there in the tomb, He’s alive. And they are sad. And this is more or less what I see around me right now. Everybody is so disappointed that their freedoms are being taken from them. Wow, show me in what book of the Bible it says that we will maintain our freedoms at the very end. Is it in the Book of Second Opinions? What book? Because the last time I heard about the end times, Jesus is the One who promised us tribulations, but still He said to be of good cheer.”
While there are many things that we are blessed with as born again Christians, we tend to forget some of them when the heat is on or the going gets tough. One of the most important things for us to remember right now is the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is circumstance based. When things are going well or when a blessing comes our way, we are happy. When things are not going good and troubles come our way, we are not happy. Because the good and the bad are part of life on earth, if we live only to be happy, we will be living a roller coaster existence.
Joy, however, is more stable. It is not based on things being up or down, good or bad. It is a constant in the life of a believer.
1 Peter 4:12-14 KJV – “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
Peter says exceeding joy is possible in the midst of fiery trials, even when we are insulted for the name of Christ. Fiery trials and insults for following Christ are certainly on the increase in these last days, yet joy is still ours to have even though we are not happy with all that is going on around us.
Psalm 51:10-12 KJV – “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
While joy is not determined by good and bad circumstances as happiness is, it can still be lost as we see in the words of King David. Psalm 51 was written after David had been confronted by Nathan the prophet about his sin with Bathsheba. He had tried to hide it, and it robbed him of the joy of his salvation. The key for restoring it was a clean heart and a renewed steadfast spirit.
We cannot allow the perils of the last days to rob us of our joy. We can and should be unhappy about what is going on around us, but the joy of our salvation need not be impacted by it. The world has gone mad, but it is not our home. Good is called evil and evil is called good, yet we are headed to a city in which righteousness dwells. It is a city whose builder and maker is God. We are hated by all for His name’s sake, yet because we bear His name and are bought by His blood, nothing can separate us from His love and no one can snatch us from His hand.
We cannot be like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who were dejected because things went a direction they weren’t expecting. The truth was they should have been expecting what robbed them of their joy.
Luke 24:25-27, 30-32 KJV – “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself… And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
Notice what turned a long-faced and unhappy journey back home into a time of renewed excitement and joy? The Scriptures that told them they should have expected the events of the last three days. We too are in the same situation. The Scriptures have told us what things would be like in the last days and here we are.
David had a reason for the loss of joy in his life. He sinned against the Lord. We have many reasons to be unhappy, but we should not be joyless. The world has changed, but that doesn’t include anything that really matters. The blood of Jesus has still covered our sins, and we’re still separated from those sins as far as the east is from the west. When we are absent from the body we will still be present with the Lord, and whether we have plenty or little we can do all things through Christ who strengths us, just as Paul told the Philippians.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 KJV – “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
Doing the work of the evangelist, which is sharing Christ with others, is the best way to maintain joy in these perilous last days. After all, there are few things that create more joy than seeing someone come to faith in Christ and be born again and filled with the joy of their salvation!
Tell someone about Jesus today! It will bring joy to you and could be great for them.
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus