what's missing ...

We've all had a recipe that didn't quite turn out the way we remembered it from the last time. Just this week I was laughing with my mom about this. She and Dad sat down to enjoy Gramma's recipe for Tuna Pasta Salad. It's tangy and the only dish I actually like radishes in. But something didn't taste quite right. Finally they realized, she'd forgotten to add the tuna. Too funny. 

With varying responsibilities--being a wife and mother of young children, keeping our home in some semblance of order; piecing together flexible work responsibilities of writing, tutoring, and substitute teaching; staying engaged with the Women for Missions, Inner City, and Children's Ministries at church; and just building relationships--I've got plenty on my plate right now. But it's seemed recently that something wasn't quite right.

Well, I just started re-reading John Piper's Let the Nations Be Glad, and what that something was hit me on the very first page.

"Missionaries will never call out, 'Let the nations be glad!', who cannot say from the heart, 'I rejoice in the Lord.... I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High' (Psalm 104:34; 9:2)."

In the midst of all the details and duties and devotion, I'm afraid I've left off being sincerely glad. 

Piper's next sentence is: "Missions begins and ends in worship." And by his third page of text, he's identified at least one plausible reason for lacking joyful worship: "It is possible to be distracted from God in trying to serve God. Martha-like, we neglect the one thing needful, and soon begin to present God as busy and fretful."

That one needful thing, the "better part," is sitting at the feet of Jesus.

And I think, how have I been presenting God to those I'm serving? To my own children? To those in our 2nd grade Sunday School class? To those in my discussion group in Inner City? To the students I teach? To my own easily-deceived heart? "Busy and fretful"? Or kindly sovereign and worthy of worship? Honestly, I'm convicted.

Gladness in Christianity is much deeper than a Pollyanna put-on. It is both an intentional and supernatural attitude. Joy is Spirit-fruit; it grows from a soul planted in God. "In His presence, there is fullness of joy."

And so I pray, 

Lord, make me a joyful Christian. I know in my head You deserve my joyful worship, help me desire to give you glad praise in my heart. Stir me to exalt in You. I want to be exuberant! Oh, to reflect an accurate image of Who You are to those around me! "I will be glad in You" only as I spend time in sweet fellowship with You. Renew my spirit, refresh my joy, strengthen our bond. For Your glory, our mutual gladness, and the advancement of Your pleasure-filled kingdom, 


I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Have you noticed a lack of joy in your life recently? If so, is that lack reflective of a lack of fellowship with God in His Word and prayer?

What is your favorite refresher? A specific psalm or hymn? A prayer?

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