We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, …Colossians 1:3-5

From the time our oldest son could talk things over, his dad has intentionally prepared him to fight against the lies told by the teenage heart – the falsehoods of emotion and foolishness and pride that come from a soul not yet anchored beyond the surging hormones of seventeen.

His ten-year old brother, who shares his room, has had a front-row seat to our family’s first adolescent adventure. Is Clayton done teenagering yet? he’ll ask, rolling his eyes with an OH MY LORD WHEN WILL IT END kind of air.

When will it end? I think? Just in time for you to start.

And then I sigh and go make a really big cup of coffee.

And I drink it, and I reflect that it really never is over – this battle to fight lies with truth.

Just last week –

I counseled someone who lost her baby.
I joyfully anticipated a vacation with my family.
I felt weak and tired from an ongoing illness.
I applauded as my son stood on a theatre stage and took another step toward manhood.
I mourned the loss of a friendship.
I rejoiced that a long stretch of work was finished.
I wrote a note of encouragement to a mom whose toddler has been blinded by cancer.
I cried in despair as another local pastor detonated his ministry with an affair.
I smiled as the daughter I never dreamed I’d have spun and danced in the filtered sunshine.

These were the bricks of my days; lies trickled down into the cracks.

God does not care. I can do my own thing. Christ will not help. My joy comes from things and experiences. I am enough. The church will be destroyed. My children are my hope.

Paul writes that the Colossians know faith, hope and love because they have heard and believed in the word of the truth, the gospel. Jesus.

I, like many Christians, am good at sidestepping outright lies, only to land on temporary truths instead – building my faith on blessings instead of promises.

Good days become not gifts, but evidence of God; bad days can therefore only be interpreted as abandonment. Putting my hope in things that go right only feeds my doubt when things go wrong.

To believe in Christ is to believe He is all He claims to be – the only way, the only life, the only Word of Truth we have. There is no other thing that goes right – not in a way that lasts. Not in a way that leads me to who I was meant to be.

In my darker moments, I have been known to resent this – the hard and beautiful knowledge that my only hope is in Christ. It’s the most difficult lie to fight. Doesn’t He want me to enjoy life, too?

But slowly, I’m learning He does – and in a way far beyond what I’ve imagined. When I stand on the Word of Truth, I can fearlessly drink every drop of life’s joy He rains down, for I am not afraid of thirsting again. When I stand on the Word of Truth, waves of sorrow can never wash the ground away.

Some days I don’t have strength to stand, and I must crawl into His lap instead, begging Him to help me believe:

What is my only comfort in life and death? That I with body and soul…am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. — The Heidelberg Catechism, 1563

If you want more joy, you have to plan for it.

Grab my free printable Daily Joy Planner page with some tips and hacks for more happy and more focus every day.

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