Give me a word, Lord: ENJOYING OR ENDURING

Psalm 16:5-11 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Do you remember the song in that old movie, “Mary Poppins,” “A Spoonful of Sugar”? Sing with me, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…in the most delightful way.” Taking medicine, especially during childhood is not something that we love to do, but something that we know we must endure so that we can get well when we are ill. My mom must not have ever paid attention to this song. When we were sick, she believed in an old remedy called Castor Oil. Back in the day, that was an old time cure all for all that ails you. It was a horrible concoction that was horribly disgusting, and I’m pretty sure even a cup full of sugar would not have helped that old stuff go down. I can remember not telling my mama I was sick when I was a kid so that I wouldn’t have to endure the torment of Castor Oil.

Some people look upon Christianity this way. They feel that being a Christian is something that must be endured like taking yucky medicine in order to be healed rather than something to be enjoyed like the gift that salvation truly is. They feel that they have to accept Christ in order to be healed and receive salvation, but they aren’t living in the fullness of salvation. This thought breaks my heart. How can one feel that they must just endure Christianity as though it is a chore? Anyone guilty of this is not enjoying salvation for what it really is, but rather they are enduring religion. There is a great big difference between the two. For you see, religion is basically man doing something to save himself, but Salvation, sweet salvation, is God doing something to save man. Religion is man trying to reach up to go to God, but salvation, sweet salvation, is God coming down to man. Religion won’t take man to heaven, but it will lead to hell. Salvation assures man that he will be taken to heaven.

You see, religion is of man, but salvation is of God. To be truly saved, we must believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth as fully man and fully God. He walked among His people, and He suffered pain and death on the cross only to be resurrected. On that cross He endured pain and agony and took upon Himself all of the sins of man. He became a means for intercession between God and man. His act of great endurance occurred so that we may enjoy the great gift of salvation which has been offered to every human being. It is not a chore. It is not some horrible thing that we must endure. It is a sweet, sweet gift that we should enjoy more than anything in the whole world.

The Psalmist understands the joy of God. “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” With religion, the heart continues to yearn for something more because there is a void, an emptiness that hasn’t been filled. With salvation, the heart is glad and the mouth rejoices. That void is filled with the Holy Spirit. The emptiness is gone. With religion, we are constantly trying to figure out which way to go. With salvation, we know where we are going. We have a reservation in our eternal home in heaven. With religion, we seek a happiness that we may never find. With salvation, we have an eternal joy within us that never fades. Though times get hard, and trials come, the joy of Jesus within our hearts never fades away.

Are you walking in joy of salvation today or are you enduring religion? Peeps, Christian living is not a penalty. It’s a prize. It’s a gift that we should be celebrating each and every day. Won’t you let the joy of Jesus fill your heart today? Don’t endure! Enjoy!

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