Jentezen Franklin - The Secret To Joyful Living
Psalms 16:11: "You will show me the path of life: for in Your presence", in Your presence, "is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for evermore". The stress, the strain, the business of modern day life, and the society that we live in have developed a certain unique medical condition that doctors are calling anhedonia. Anhedonia is a medical term that speaks of the increasing number of people who are losing the ability... Listen. This is a medical term that psychologists and doctors have come up with that describes the increasing number of people who have lost the ability to find pleasure in things they used to like. They lose the ability, literally, to be happy.
A relentless pursuit of pleasure and happiness, and they cannot find it. It's the numbing of the senses. It's the dulling of their minds. Anhedonia is a Greek word made up of two words: an meaning without, and hedone meaning pleasure. Get it now. Without pleasure. And there are many people who are without pleasure, without happiness; joyless, cheerless, in an existence that's just there. There are three areas that the doctors and the psychologists say this is manifesting, particularly in this generation. There is social anhedonia, meaning that people are there but they're not connecting socially.
They are perhaps in relationships but they are at a point where they're so distracted, they're so busy, they're so overindulged in whatever that they're not connecting socially with their own family, with their own mates, with their own loved ones. And then there's musical. I thought this was interesting. Musical anhedonia, which is again, it's this overindulgence. It's this thing that I no longer feel, I no longer am impressed. I've heard so much that nothing moves me. And I thought about our worship.
And then, I think that the last one is very interesting. There's something called sexual anhedonia. And whereas before this would only show up in people who had mild cases of schizophrenia or they had mild cases of drug addiction or were entering into drug addiction and this thing began to take hold of them in their mind. Most recent times, doctors say in medical journals that it's completely healthy people in the 21st century that more and more are being diagnosed with this condition; normal people who do not have happiness in their life. They're losing the ability to receive joy from normal things and they have to be stimulated more and more and more and more to enjoy it. In the pleasure center of our brain.
The way that we receive happiness, the way that we feel happy, the way that we feel laughy and joyful is because something chemically happens in our brain and we release dopamine; makes you happy. It's what makes you feel up. You know, you're going on vacation and some of that, it gets released in your brain because "I'm getting out of here; I'm going to the beach", and you feel up. The process stops working. And what happens to people is when they begin to rely on that feeling, that's what excites them sexually is the pornography or that's what excites them is the drugs, and it releases that dopamine into their mind and then they're up and they're feeling good. But then, when they crash, it's a continual raising of the bar, an upping of the ante.
"I've got to look at something else more and more and more. I've got to try something else. I've got to do something else. I've got to have another affair and another affair and another lover and another lover". And it never ends. The pleasure that we used to get we don't get any more out of just the simple relationships that we once had. It's not enough now.
Doctors and scientists studying anhedonia believe that the corporate rise of cases is because, listen, we are a society that is overstimulated, that we have so much going on, that technological advances and improvements and inventions of our modern times, that our brains are so stimulated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, that we as a society have so many devices at our fingertips that we can be sitting around with a bunch of people and not connecting socially because we're all on our iPhones, checking our Twitter, checking this, checking that, looking at this, getting this information. And we never shut off our brains to connect.
iPhones, iPads, chat rooms, apps, games, texts, Twitter, WiFi, satellite TV, pictures on the screen, so much, so much that we're overstimulated. I'm not against iPhones. I'm not against technology; but if we don't watch it, we don't even talk at our meals and we sit down with our family but nobody's connected. Everybody's in the living room looking at their phone.
The author and director of Jurassic Park, the movie, was asked why he did it so spectacular and great and outlandish with all the special effects. And listen to what he said. He said, "In other generations, people wanted to be educated, enlightened, improved, and empowered. But in this generation, they want to be entertained". The great fear of this generation is not disease or death, it's boredom. That's why you can't even go use the bathroom without an iPhone to look at. You can't go anywhere. The great fear of this generation is not death or disease; it's "I'm afraid for one second I'm going to get quiet and still". And in that society, God says, "Be still and know. Turn it all off and know that I am God".
I'm going to shock some of the young people here. But there was a time, I know now, try not to faint, there was a time in my lifetime when there were no iPhones. Amazing. I actually remember when the phone hung on the wall. I know this it's like a foreign language to you. But just imagine, if you can, in your mind, the phone did not go with you everywhere you went. It actually hung on the wall. And then, we got super technical with technology and we got an extra length cord that we could move from the kitchen... Anybody remember that? We thought we were something. We would move from the kitchen into the living room.
I remember a time in my lifetime, But now, look at what we've got. We're overstimulated. I'm not preaching against technology and iPhones, but if we're not careful and we're not cautious, even our capacity to experience God will be compromised because we filled our minds and our lives with so much of this other stimuli that there's no room for God, and we can miss the Master. He can be plain. He can be sitting here in all of His glory. He can be playing a song of deliverance over your life and you never even know it because you're so self-absorbed and you want to get in and get out and leave here just like you came. And your life is empty.
And you know what? You're so overstimulated that you don't get a thrill out of what you thought you would, so you have to keep trying for more, trying for more. But in His presence, there is fullness of joy; and at His right hand there is pleasure forevermore. It's not in a party and another party and another club and another club and another lover and another lover and another marriage and another marriage. It's only in His presence. And when you connect to Him, you begin to connect to them. And the more you connect to Him, the more you will love them. But if we're not careful, we'll come to God's house and the Spirit of God, the word of God, the anointing of God does not affect us anymore.
We live in a world of stimulation, and if we're not careful, what used to move you in this church will no longer move you. What used to touch you will no longer touch you. And you just go through the routine of being a lukewarm believer. And I refuse to pastor that kind of church. I don't care what I have to do, I refuse to be that kind of preacher. I've come too far to get a lukewarm and cold, grow cold and let the passion for God die in me. I'm telling you, we need to be on fire for Jesus Christ. Nothing else brings pleasure. Nothing else brings a joyful life.
Jesus is the center of our joy. But we're pursuing, pursuing, pursuing, pursuing. And when you get it, it won't be enough, because it's only in His presence. Isaiah said, "He's wonderful, counselor, mighty God, the everlasting Father". But if you're not careful, you'll lose the wonderful, you'll miss the Master. You're so busy. You're even thinking, "What have I got to do when I get out of here"? Maybe the Master is here today. I refuse to go through the motions and the gestures of worship. I want my heart to be moved by who He is. He is Wonderful. He is Jesus.
Am I still awed in His presence? Am I still moved? Do I still get goosebumps? How long has it been since you felt something going up your spine? Some of you say, "I've never felt that". I'm telling you that there are services you can get in where the tangible presence of God can move your soul. Even the hardest shelled person will have tears well up in their eyes when the King walks in. I feel Him here right now. I really do. Would you welcome the Holy Spirit?
Would you say, "God, I need You in my life, I need You center stage; I need You, God, in Your rightful place"? We've reached a point that we've lost our first love. We sit unengaged. Entertain me. Is there anything in your life that can still move your heart? We must resist the numbness of our times. Do you know how many churches are okay with that? I'm not acting like we're superior, but I fight that with everything I am as your leader, that we just be a church that becomes numb and dull and sit down and hear a talk about the Bible and leave. We need more than that in this generation, in this hour, when we're competing with all of the saturation of everything that's hitting our family 24 hours a day. We need the presence of God in our church and in our home and in our life. Take a praise break and welcome the Holy Spirit.
Doctors call anhedonia, a modern way of saying it, one person said, was anhedonia is being thrilled to death. Thrilled to death. Increasing doses of success. But it doesn't matter what I have and what I achieve. Somehow, I'm still not happy. Being thrilled to death. "I'm going to this concert. I'm going to that concert. I'm going to this event. I'm going to that party. I'm going to that club". 'Cause we've got to get the endorphins flowing. "I've got to get that buzz. I've got to get that up feeling. I've got to get that... Oh, I want to be happy". And we're running all over the place, and it only will last temporarily. Even if you get the car, the house, the business, the bank account, it'll only satisfy temporarily. "In Thy presence is fullness of joy".
Elijah found himself sinking in life without pleasure. He was in depression. And he thought the big, spectacular stimulation would get him out, so the whirlwind came and God was not in the whirlwind, and the fire fell and God was not in the fire, and the lightening hits and all kinds of things, earthshakes, but God was not in the earthquake. But then, the Bible said, there came, listen to it, a still small voice. That's what's missing. You can be so busy that you're barren. You're so busy, you're so self-absorbed; you're so hurry, hurry, hurry, go, go, go that you're disconnecting from one another and most importantly, you're disconnected from God. The Lord cares more about who you are than what you do.
And I feel such a burden today, I really do, because that still small voice still brings true pleasure, true purpose, true joy, peace, forgiveness, fulfillment. I feel like saying, "Take this whole world, but give me Jesus". I feel like saying, "I'd rather have Jesus than anything". We're in a battle for our families, for our homes. I have an amazing son, Drake. He's an incredible kid and I love him so much. I'm so proud of him. He's a good boy. And I find myself worrying a lot about him. He's the only boy I've got.
And so I constantly ask him when I get him alone, as a dad, "Son, how are you doing? Are you okay? What are you looking at? Be careful what you see on that internet. Talk to me. Talk to me. You can tell me anything. Talk to me. Talk to me". And it may feel awkward and stuff as a dad, but I want to tell you, you dads need to start having these kinds of conversations 'cause the enemy is destroying a generation. Our counseling center is telling us more and more and more marriages are being decimated by this overstimulization of pornography that gets, demands more, more, more, more, more to get that feeling again. And suddenly, the relationships are destroyed in the wake.
I want you to understand something that, as a man, if you're a father, that you don't just win for you. but when David and Goliath met in the valley, before they started to fight, the Bible said the armies were arrayed against each other and the armies of Israel and the armies of the Philistines were about to fight, and Goliath stopped it. Listen to this. "And he said, 'Oh no, we're not going to fight man to man, army on army. Here's how this battle goes". And listen to me dad. "Send a man out from your camp and we'll send a man out from our camp. And let the man on your side fight against the man on our side. And the one who wins... If I defeat your man, then his soldiers become my slaves".
We need to understand as the head of our home, as men, and I need to understand, and we pastors need to understand that as head of this ministry, that we're not just fighting for ourselves, but the people that are under us will have struggles if we don't defeat our giant. Notice it's not army against army, but it's leader against leader. And you're the leader of your home, sir. You're the leader of that family. You're the leader of that wife. And if you don't fight and win, then he has the right to what's under you. That's why I can't come in here on Sunday and play church. That's why I can't just go through the routine of loving God, but I have to have His touch. I have to be in His presence. Do you understand what I'm trying to say?
There's a war going on, and the enemy wants to take people deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper into wickedness and defilement and filthiness of the flesh and iniquity. And the Holy Spirit has to send messages like this that stops everything and awakens our conscience from the busyness and the barrenness of life. And something begins to stir in our heart again that says, "O God, this is not, this is not where I'm supposed to be. I need You". I wish there would come a cry from this church, a cry of men and women, boys and girls, teenagers, moms, grandparents that would say, "God, I don't just want to rush in and miss the Master. But I believe".
Throw up Psalm 16 one more time. That today in this service, "You show me the path of life". This is what life is all about "in Your presence". "There is fullness of joy; and at Your right hand pleasures, pleasures forevermore". Would you raise your hands toward heaven all over this room as, if you feel comfortable doing it, would you do it, as an act of surrender? And say, "Holy Spirit, I don't want to miss the Master. Lead me in the path of life, for in Your presence, there is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand, there's pleasure forevermore".
Some of you have resisted so many times that it is becoming harder and harder and harder and harder for the shell that has developed over your heart to be penetrated. You've gone so deep into iniquity, more and more and more and more and more, that it's becoming harder and harder to connect to the touch of God and the anointing of God and the presence of God. He doesn't move you anymore. This is your service. How long has it been for you, sir; for you, mom; for you, teenager; for you, single mom, since you were so in His presence that everything was swept away and everything you've been longing for, missing, began to pour into your life? He consumed you. I'm not making this up. I'm telling you there is a place in Him where there's pleasure and there's fullness of joy.