Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God
Many people don’t associate joy with religion. Joy is for other things; like football, motorcycles, golf, fishing, eating, sex, or vacations. Religion conjures up thoughts like duty, sacrifice, or self denial. If you think about it, that doesn’t even make logical sense. Who is the inventor of joy? Who thought about smiles and giggles, belly laughs and crying for joy? God is the originator of joy and wants nothing more than to be the very source of our joy. He gives us a picture of this in the joy between two lovers that ends in marital bliss. Marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. The wedding is intended to be one of the happiest days of our lives. How can you discover this joy for yourself? It is the very foundation of our Christian faith. The place of greatest joy is in the presence of the Lord. Here are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on this spiritual joy.
“It was not the altar as such that the psalmist cared for, he was no believer in the heathenism of ritualism: his soul desired spiritual fellowship, fellowship with God himself in very deed. What are all the rites of worship unless the Lord be in them; what, indeed, but empty shells and dry husks? Note the holy rapture with which David regards his Lord! He is not his joy alone, but his exceeding joy; not the fountain of joy, the giver of joy, or the maintainer of joy, but that joy itself. To draw near to God, who is such a joy to us, may well be the object of our hungering and thirsting. O God, my God. How he dwells upon the name which he loves so well! He already harps on it as though his harp music had begun. What sweeter sounds can music know than these four words? To have God in possession, and to know it by faith, is the heart’s heaven—a fulness of bliss lies therein.”
True religion touches our heart. To those who have been born again, their strongest passions are connected to their spirituality. Once you have tasted this heavenly joy you will understand the role of pleasure in life. Like everything else under the sun, it always points us to the Lord.