If you know me, you know it’s no secret I’m a fan of a guy named Clive Staples Lewis - more affectionately known as C.S. Lewis, the author of the beloved Chronicles of Narnia series and other works. Let me just say, this man can write.
There’s an excerpt from one of his books, The Weight of Glory, that I’ve pondered throughout the years, but lately, it’s been on my mind more than usual.
“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.”
So, what’s your mud pie? What is it that’s keeping you from experiencing a fuller sense of joy in Christ? Is it drink, sex, or ambition like C.S. Lewis suggests, or is it something else? Or do you not know? See, here’s the thing. We all have gods. It’s the thing we find the most joy in. And they all seem to offer the same thing at the root of it all – fullness of joy. But the reality is that God is the only one that ultimately keeps His word. The Bible confirms this time and time again, but there are a few verses in particular that remind me of this in the Gospel of John.
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:8-11)
Don’t miss that! I know I certainly have time and time again.
Jesus’s desire is for our joy to be full, and for our joy to be full because His joy is in us.
But do we believe that Jesus is worth it? Do we believe that He’s a vacation by the sea, or do we believe He’s more like a vacation in the slums? The way we start to see joy, and specifically joy in the Lord, as a “treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44), is to do exactly that – sell all that we have. What do I mean by that? I don’t literally mean to go and sell everything you have, though that might be what it takes for some. What I do mean is that there is a self-denial involved.
That self-denial isn’t powered by will power. Being morally good won’t get us there. But the self-denial is grounded in joy. We deny our mud pies for something greater. We deny them for a vacation by the sea.
So, again, what’s your mud pie? There are days where I’m still fighting to believe that my own tangible mud pies that are right in front of me aren’t anything compared to that promise of infinite joy. But it’s worth it. Goodness, it’s worth it. I hope it’s worth it for you, too.