We are back with Trip Lee. Trip, in your new book Rise, you write: “Sadly, we treat God like he’s handing us sleep masks in the movies, when really he’s handing us the 3-D goggles. He’s not trying to block our joy and leave us in the dark. He intends to enhance our joy, to give us fullness of joy. He wants us to enjoy life as it was meant to be enjoyed.” I love that. So explain this battle more — this fight to say no to selfishness and sin out of a trust that God is in fact deeply concerned with my ultimate joy.
I know that I am not the only one who has ever read something in Scripture or understood something that God has said and thought it was really hard, and thought: Wow, that is not what I want to do. Or I would rather do this. Because Scripture does call us to hard things. God is actually holy, and he does actually call us to holiness. And so it can be really hard.
There are some things that seem really great to us, but that God tells us to turn away from. And the easy temptation there is to think that this is because God isn’t good or because God doesn’t want us to have joy. Or maybe not even that God isn’t good, but to think: Man, following God means all joy has to be traded in. And this is why obeying Jesus has to flow from true faith, because you really have to trust him, even if what he is saying doesn’t make really great sense to you yet.
I mean, my two-year-old, sometimes there are things that he wants to do that are not very smart, like stick his finger in a socket. And that seems like really fun to him. That seems like a great idea. He thinks something great is going to be on the other side. But if my son is going to survive, and he is not going to be injured, and we are not going to go to the ER that night, he has to trust his dad. He has to do what I say. And he can’t just try it first and then see what the consequences are and decide later. No, he has to actually listen to me and do what I say and fight that strong desire and say, “Okay, Daddy is wiser and he loves me, and he is trying to help me out. I am going to trust him.” And that is the same thing for us.
Where Trust Is Built
You know, there may be a certain relationship that seems so appealing to us, or maybe we just want out of our marriage because it just doesn’t seem like it is going well. Or maybe we don’t want to take the slow route to rising in our job and we want to kind of step over some of the path. Whatever it may be, there may be some things that seem perfectly fine to us. We don’t quite understand why God wouldn’t allow us to do it, but we have to trust him. God is not trying to block our joy; God is actually leading us to fullness of joy, and we just really have to trust that.
And that trust is really only going to be built by seeing God’s goodness in his track record: by seeing what he did in Christ on the cross, by looking in Scripture, seeing how faithful he has been to his people, and then trusting him in light of that. Then we can say, “Man, God has never done anything but perfectly holy, good, loving things for his people. And I have no reason to believe he would do anything different this time. He said this. That doesn’t seem like what I would like to do, but I am going to trust him.”
And that really comes from love and faith. And that is really going to be the essence of our everyday fight for joy, everyday denial. Fighting pride is going to have to be: “Well, you know, I trust God when he says that he is one who deserves all glory.” Or we say, “That seems good to look upon us this woman with lust, but I trust God and his plan for sexuality.” Every day self-denial has to be trusting that God is not keeping us from joy but leading us to fullness of joy.