Finding the Real Joy

"Every Sunday for years my husband's parents have had a big dinner at one o'clock in the afternoon, and Jon wants to go," Joanne shared over the phone. "He doesn't ask me; he just says, 'Let's go.' I think he should want to spend the time building our relationship. It's not that we go every week, but it's always looming up. I don't know what to do about it. It's really a bone of contention in our marriage." Then she laughed, "Sundays come up so often."

"Is pleasing God your deepest desire in this situation?" I asked her. "If you can focus on whether or not God is pleased with your attitude, then you are making a clear channel through which God can work.

"God can give you so much grace for those Sunday dinners that you'll begin to look forward to them because the joy of the Lord will accompany your obedience."

Several weeks later Joanne said, "I'm really trying to submit about those Sunday dinners and to tell the Lord, 'It doesn't matter if we go or not. I only care that You approve of my attitude.' It's working out much better, but what's really great is that I'm able to say, 'My concern is if God is pleased. That's all I care about.'"

"Finding your joy in pleasing Him by offering up this thing that is most difficult for you is a way you can tell God you love Him," I told her. When we offer up our desires simply out of love for Him, He accepts our offerings and gives us His joy.

Dear Jesus, I want all my desires to be only for Your pleasure. I set my heart on pleasing You.

"I seek not to please myself but him who sent me" (John 5:30).