We are blessed to be joined this week on the Ask Pastor John podcast by a guest and our friend, Francis Chan, who joins us from San Francisco. Francis and his wife Lisa are the authors of the new book You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity. And we will get to marriage questions soon enough, but first I want to ask you, Francis, about fighting for joy in Christ every day. Is this a struggle for you? Does Francis Chan fight for joy in Christ?
Yes, absolutely. I have to fight for joy every day. For me it is a real fight for my mind. But lately the battle has been multi-tasking because I love to accomplish — I love to get a lot of things done in one day. And I figure, Why do one thing when you can do three? So you are just going, and it is all for the kingdom and everything.
Clear-Minded for Prayer
But then it comes time to pray. And this is where multi-tasking can kill you: your mind is used to doing several things at once, and if you are trying to do three things at once, you really can’t worship God wholeheartedly. First Peter 4:7 talks about being clear-minded for the purpose of prayer — to be self-controlled and sober-minded, clear-minded.
And my fight is those times where I just want to get away from everything, and to rejoice in the Lord. I mean, genuinely — just to come into the presence of God and not have my mind wander.
- Sometimes I am pacing.
- Sometimes I am praying out loud.
- Sometimes I am singing out loud.
- Sometimes I am on my knees.
Sometimes I’m doing all three or four of those things, just so that my mind doesn’t switch to something else: I am just a hundred-percent focused on God, thanking him for everything I have in Christ. I mean, life is good, our existence is good. We are so blessed, but to focus on that and to really rejoice in that is a real fight.
Joy for the Day
We have a few dozen people living in our house, and it’s not a big house, so noise is an issue. I built a little room in my garage, a tiny room; it is more like a closet or something, just so that I can escape and get alone and worship him and thank him and tell him how great it is to know him and restore that joy in my life.
I don’t know how other people get charged up. But for me, it is really coming into the presence of God and enjoying him. That is a type of joy that lasts. If I can get that time, and really be focused in the morning, it really does just go throughout the whole day.