Sometimes you feel like a nut!
Sometimes you don’t!
Almond Joy’s got nuts
I can’t help but smile when I read those words. First, let me say that they are the copyrighted property of the Hershey Foods company who makes two of the most popular candy bars in American culture: Almond Joy and Mounds.
The wacky TV commercials used to advertise the two bars played for a couple of decades, and “Sometimes you feel like a nut!” became part of American culture. The commercials always pictured happy people doing funny things and always left you feeling like having a candy bar! Even the name of the Almond Joy is indicative of how one is supposed to feel when enjoying the candy: joyful!
Joy That Lasts
While we know God gives joy in life that goes far beyond the momentary pleasure of a candy treat, we shouldn’t ignore these moments of joy. By their temporary nature, they remind us of what our hearts truly seek: a deep joy that transcends earthly pleasures and experience.
The apostle Peter wrote about “joy inexpressible” to the Jewish believers who were suffering in distant lands (1 Peter 1:8). While Mounds bars might have been “Indescribably Delicious” according to marketers, the joy of God goes beyond our ability to express— even when we are suffering. And the chocolate that coated the bars might have been “Honest to Goodness Chocolate,” but the joy of the Lord is rooted in the truth of God: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” (Psalm 119:162).
Which sounds more satisfying in the long run—the very best chocolate or the joy that springs from truth? They both have their place, but one place is more important—more eternal—than the other.
Joy That Appears
Joy comes from living our life in the certainty and contentedness that come from the promises of God. The letter the apostle Paul wrote from a Roman jail cell to the church at Philippi proves that joy is not a matter of circumstances and that joy appears when we are wholly involved in doing the will of God and trusting Him in the midst of circumstances.
Note how Paul experienced joy even while confined in jail. Joy appeared when he . . .
• Prayed for others (Philippians 1:4). When Paul took his eyes off his own circumstances, he experienced joy.
• Saw God’s plan being fulfilled (1:18). Even though others were vying for Paul’s leadership role while he was jail, Paul rejoiced that the Gospel was being preached.
• Saw others living lives pleasing to God (2:2). When others were walking in the will of God, Paul experienced joy.
• Knew he was pleasing God (2:17-18). Paul’s goal in life was to please God in everything—even while imprisoned. Knowing He was in God’s will brought him joy.
• Focused on the Lord Jesus Christ (3:1; 4:4). Paul encouraged others to do what he did: rejoice in the Lord! Paul knew that joy would be the result of staying focused on pleasing Christ.
• Remembered the limitations of his human abilities (3:3). Paul did not look to himself or his circumstances as a permanent source of joy to deliver him through trials. He knew only Jesus was sufficient for that.
Joy That Is Permanent
If Christians do one thing that short-circuits joy in their lives, it is this: confusing pleasure and joy. Both have their place in our lives. But if you make life’s pleasures the source of your joy, then as soon as those pleasures have run their course or are withdrawn, your joy vanishes. Pleasure is temporary, but joy endures. Indeed, true joy, because it has its source in God and His faithfulness, is new “every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).
The apostle Paul wrote that “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking [or any other temporary pleasure], but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). If joy is found in our relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, then we know it is a joy that will endure both now and forever.
Do we sometimes “feel like a nut” (or act a little “nutty”) in this life? Absolutely—and God’s good gifts to us make those moments possible and enjoyable. But when it comes to joy that will endure, I recommend the Joy of the Lord over Almond Joy every time.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
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