Remember that old song, “Looking For Love In All Wrong Places?”
It’s true, people have certainly looked for love in the wrong places, and we also look for joy in the wrong places. Although I still consider myself a young pastor, I’ve heard many stories from people who have been looking for joy in many places where they come up disappointed.
Some have sought joy in the approval of others . . . a parent, a friend, a boss, a mate. The problem with finding joy in the approval of others is that it’s a target that is always moving. Once you think you’ve pleased everyone, those standards change on you.
Some have sought joy by obtaining more material things. Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, describes this as “chasing after the wind.” Imagine that picture . . . a man chasing after the wind, getting an armful, and looking down and seeing nothing for all of his work. This describes the plight of many people who seek joy through material gain.
Not to long ago, I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I knew I would find poverty there among the people. I knew I would find conditions that I’d never seen.
And, I did find some extreme poverty. I found people who lived in huts with no running water. I found people who ate things to stay alive that I would not eat. I found people who may have only had two changes of clothes their church clothes and clothes for the other six days of the week.
What I also found was joy. I found people who were truly happy. I found people who were content with their lives.
This kind of joy could not be found in other people, nor could it be found in material things they had nothing.
This joy was found in the Lord. This joy was the joy they had because of their salvation.
If you saw the way they worshiped, you would know they had joy in the Lord. The psalmist wrote, “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”
Where are you looking for joy?
If you find yourself discontent with your life on a regular basis, you are looking for joy in all the wrong places.
I went to the Dominican Republic to be a blessing to the people there, but they taught me more about life than I could ever teach them. They taught me that despite what we’re told in America, the only real source of joy is the Lord.
If you’ve been looking for joy in other places and you’ve found yourself disappointed, I encourage you to seek God. Open His Word. Find a quiet place to talk to Him.
You might be a skeptic, but give Him a try. If you seek God with all your heart, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.