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The Back Door to Joy

January 13, 2019

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” Isaiah 55:1

How can you cultivate joy in God? It begins with a deep thirst: “Come, everyone who thirsts” (55:1). Having discovered a deep thirst in their own souls, they feel they are bankrupt “no money!” They realize they don’t have what it takes to get what they need.

You can’t ask God to restore your soul until you know that your soul needs restoring. That’s why the barren woman, the deserted wife, and the folks in the ruined city discover this joy. The woman with children, the happily married couple, and the successful businessman in the city often do not seek it. Their lives are so full that they never ask: What are children for? What is marriage for? What is the city for? Is there a higher purpose, a greater joy?

The default mode of the human heart is to seek joy in our children, in our marriages, and in our money. The Bible has a name for this: it is called idolatry. And idolatry always fails.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:3–6).

When you know your soul needs restoring, you will ask God to restore your soul. This is why sorrow is often the back door to joy.

Have you discovered a deep thirst in your soul for greater joy in Christ?


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



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