"Return the joy of your salvation to me!" -Psalm 51:12
Every now and then I need God to restore the joy of my salvation. When we first begin following Christ there is a sense of enthusiasm and passion. What we lack in knowledge at that point is made up for by our joyful spirit. We are astonished by the grace and mercy of God. We are amazed by the truth that God not only loves us, but wants to use us in his kingdom!
However, after a few years this joy can become dulled by the stress and temptation of the world. Suddenly church becomes a chore that we feel obligated to fulfill every now and then. We fall into the dangerous trap of self-pity. We begin to see service as something we have to get through as opposed to something we get to do. I have often fallen into this type of thinking: Only two more crazy weeks of summer and then I'll get a break. After I finish writing this sermon I can get some rest.
Ministry becomes a burden instead of something that is life-giving and sanctifying. We begin to believe that God owes us for all that we have done for him. We forget that our very lives-and our own ability to serve-is a gift of grace.
In these moments we must remember. We must remember the joy of our salvation. We must remember who Christ is and all he has done for us. We must repent of our self-pity and rejoice in the truth that God has both saved us and called us. Religion is a chore...living with Christ is a joy-full blessing.