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April 25 – Counterfeit joy (3)

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?Mark 8:36

Scripture reading: Mark 8:31-38

C.S. Lewis once said:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Lewis was right. We have infinite joy offered us, but we are satisfied with that which is much less. We’ve already looked at the counterfeit joy of sin and of circumstances. Today, I want to consider things that are not necessarily bad, but are ultimately trivial.

I like playing sports and enjoy following my favorite players and teams. I’ll watch an occasional game on TV, or play a round of golf with friends. But I can honestly say that I can do without these things. Yet, I’m sure you’ve noticed that some people’s lives revolve around sports. My wife is artistic and enjoys making crafts. But she wisely does not allow that activity to run her life.

If sports, or crafts, or recreation, or stamp-collecting or some other activity is what fills you with joy and meaning, you’ve settled for something far too little. You are making mud pies in a slum when you are offered a holiday by the sea. You are, as Lewis would say, “Far too easily pleased.”

Don’t settle for the trivial. God, in Christ, is your true and infinite joy.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you would not find your joy and meaning in the small, trivial things. Repent for desiring and being satisfied with too little.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen is the minister of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) in Littleton, Colorado.

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