Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 12, 2014

Journey joy

For the last few days, I’ve been in Toronto for a conference. There were more than 8,600 people at the conference, most from places other than the USA. Observing people from around the world causes me to reflect on my life, my faith and all the privileges of my journey.

With my journey glasses on, I actually view the traveling adventures of people every day. Observation has taught me that, by percentage, very few are commuting on a joyful trip. For a variety of reasons, daily circumstances tend to override the capacity we have for joy. It’s understandable that someone without a relationship with Christ would be frustrated; they are traveling alone. But for those who have entered by faith into the family of God, why doesn’t the traveling contain more joy? If your journey is in need of a boost, consider how you are using the daily rest stops available through His Word.

For the most part, it’s impossible to control the external circumstances that invade our lives each week. Have you noticed how often your weekly travels have taken you over one mountain, only to find another looming ahead? And while there are certainly stretches of smooth highways and level roads, for the most part the terrain of life is tough.

Pulling over for daily rest stops will deepen your resolve that external circumstances never give true joy on the journey. Disciplining ourselves to create strategies for internal growth is vital. Nothing on the outside will ever satisfy our internal longings. The people that surround us, the culture we live in, or the activities that fill our lives will never give us lasting journey joy. Take a few minutes, and let the words of II Corinthians encourage you to look inward to buffer the externals of life.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

For a moment, honestly evaluate your recent internal growth through the nourishment of his Word. Is it secondary to your daily travels? Is there too much life in the fast lane and too few rest stops? God wants you to enjoy the growth and joy that He alone can provide. If He’s willing to make us strong internally and unfold His grace in our lives, we must let the nutrients of His Word transform us internally. Our daily doses of nourishment and light are essential to create the strength that stands firm in defense against the attack of those external circumstances that we can’t control, but we know will come.

Journey joy is simple. Give time and priority to rest stops, and let His Word re-energize and fuel you. If your personal rest stops are too infrequent, honestly admit that your travels are out of balance and start each day with pulling into your rest stop.  He knows when you’ll need the miracle, or maybe just some encouragement for the next mile. Remember, there is a lavish celebration prepared for all who know Christ.

Don’t traverse another mile without seeking Him first.


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