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email response to a Bridge visitor

November 18, 2009

Someone visited The Bridge recently and anonymously messaged me with the question I hope every person who ever visits a worship gathering leaves asking…

Hey Pastor Josh. I was wondering what about your God inspires you to follow and pursue him?  What do you personally think makes him worth dedicating so much heart and life to?

I don’t know who you are or what has brought you to this question, but I want you to know I’ve been praying for you since you messaged me and pray that you read this with seriousness. Here’s my response:

God – revealed in Scripture and made available to us through The Cross – is the only thing I’ve ever chased that has satisfied the thirst of my soul and given me lasting joy.  I don’t pretend to know you, but you are human and made to worship.  Whether you know it or not you ARE dedicating heart and life to something in place of God all the time – a counterfeit god.  Something occupies the “position of glory” in your heart.

To be very honest and frank with you, at different times in my life I’ve dedicated heart and life to…

  • Fame – the love and admiration of peers
  • Lust
  • Success at work
  • A romantic relationship
  • Financial betterment

I don’t know what you’ve chased but if you look you’ll see that all of them promise joy.  None deliver.  They have all left me ruined, hurt, deeply ashamed and hopelessly unfulfilled.

Hope beyond hope – In Scripture we collide with a God so powerful, loving, righteous, and holy that he finally satisfies the hope of our hearts.  He gives us joy.  David – a dirty sinner like you and me – echoes this in Psalms:

You make known to me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forever more.   Psalm 16:11

You responded to a one-sentence message I sent you to this effect:

I see he gives you joy, but doesn’t he give pain too?

The Bible doesn’t and I am not equating “comfort” with “joy”.  In fact, God promises us that if we are willing to seek joy where it can only be found that discomfort will follow.  2 Timothy 3:12 (written by a man who was beheaded for following Jesus) says…

In fact, anyone who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

No, seeking God will not eliminate discomfort in your life because we live in a world that is (for now) in rebellion against God.  But he will give you joy in the midst of pain and sorrow that sustains you where nothing else will.  Again, I don’t know you, but I sense from the tone of your messages that you are in the midst of pain.

Sometimes it feels like God is killing us when he’s actually saving us.  Maybe – just maybe – God is painfully removing from you some of the things you’ve trusted and tried to build your happiness upon so that you can finally find the only real, lasting joy that exists.  This can only be found by turning away from chasing, trusting, and obeying other things and placing your faith in Jesus – that he was God and took the place that you deserved on the cross because of your sin.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Beth Davies permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:18 am

    what about my God inspires me to follow and pursue Him? Inspite of my sin, or that I don’t always give Him the time He deserves, He shows me everyday He loves me. He gives me comfort in time of grief, peace when all around me is chaos. He carries me when I have no strenght to continue. He LOVES me even though I am unlovable.

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