False Sources Of Joy

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

This devotional is based on Kay Warren’s new book, "Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough."

If you’re like me, you want to experience joy on a daily basis, but you’re not sure how to get there. It’s ridiculously easy to look for joy in all the wrong places. Everyone wants it, but somehow we often head off in the complete opposite direction to find it. For example, we try to find it in:

People: Even though we know better, we expect the people around us to meet our needs, take care of us, make us happy, understand us, and appreciate us. We expect them to love us 100 percent right, 100 percent of the time!

Possessions: Material belongings — or the lack of them — have a way of shaping our lives. A new pair of shoes, a new computer program, a better car, or a better lawn mower have the power to improve our mood and outlook.

Places: For many of us, where we live is a key to our sense of fulfillment and joy. Where we live, who our neighbors are, what shape our house is in, and what our yard looks like can be powerful drivers in our search for joy.

Position: For many, this can make or break their level of contentment. Where do I fit on the totem pole at work? Am I climbing up the ladder fast enough? Who’s ahead of me? Who do I need to knock down so I can advance? More importantly, who’s behind me?

Do you know what these four sources of joy have in common? They’re all false. They all fail to deliver long-term joy. They all disappoint and fail to satisfy the deepest longing for joy in our souls.

The Bible says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).

People, possessions, places, and positions are too flimsy to hold up the weight of our expectations and our desire to experience joy.

Only Jesus can meet those expectations.

Talk About It --

  • How have you been searching for joy or contentment in people, possessions, places, or position?
  • Explain the difference between happiness and joy?

Kay Warren co-founded Saddleback Church with her husband, Rick Warren, in Lake Forest, Calif. She is a passionate Bible teacher and respected advocate for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS as well as orphaned and vulnerable children. She is the founder of Saddleback’s HIV/AIDS Initiative, author of "Say Yes to God," and co-author of "Foundations," the popular systematic theology course used by churches worldwide. She has three children and five grandchildren.


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