"And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!' And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, 'Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.' And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, 'Then who can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.' Peter began to say to him, 'See, we have left everything and followed you.' Jesus said, 'Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.'” Mark 10:23-31
The rich young ruler “went away disheartened” (Mark 10:22) and the disciples found themselves puzzled with amazement (v. 24) and exceedingly astonished (v. 26) by the teaching of Jesus regarding the kingdom.
In the ensuing discussion Jesus underscores the consuming depth of kingdom living.
“The principle runs through all of life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end; submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. BUT LOOK FOR CHRIST AND YOU WILL FIND HIM, AND WITH HIM EVERYTHING ELSE THROWN IN.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pg. 226-227
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he (the lion).
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
C.S Lewis, Prince Caspian, pg. 136
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:1-5
*Longing for joy, purpose, and fulfillment is a universal desire.
*Do not suppress this desire, deny it, or grow cynical but pursue it.
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward … 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 sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory
*The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God.
I PURSUE JOY AS:
1. I am convinced that the triune God is all glorious and desires my happiness.
"More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is GREAT REWARD." Psalm 19:10-11
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:6
2. The rewards that the Lord gives involve present day realities.
“(the Holy Spirit) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:14
3. Keep nothing back…
4. As I long for joy and purpose I desire to live out the kingdom mandates (Mark 8:35-36 and 10:31).
5. The unarguable reality of that which can be observed should underscore (i.e. change, joy, hope, laughter) kingdom values.
“The gospel is not just the ABC’s but the A to Z of the christian life. It is inaccurate to think the gospel is what saves non Christians, then Christians mature by trying hard to live according to biblical principles. It is more accurate to say we are saved by believing the gospel, and then we are transformed in every part of our minds, hearts, and lives by believing the gospel more and more deeply as life goes on.” Tim Keller, Center Church