St. Paul told the Corinthians that "godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." (2 Corinthians 7:10) And this is the next step in reaching sober joy.
After one has admitted his need for spiritual and physical sobriety, one is asked to confront where one is with a full knowledge of where one should be.
That distance, as great as it is, produces "sorrow" or shame or despair. This is a critical crossroads in any spiritual journey because the wrong choice can lead to lethargy and poverty of soul, while another choice leads to joy.
In any spiritual journey you will confront your own spiritual poverty. When this happens, the Enemy of your soul longs to trap you in despair. "What's the use. I'm so far away from Christ, why even try." And at that moment the Enemy wins your soul. He traps you in a pit of despondency, and you lie there wounded, dying, but also self centered. Ultimately, what leads a soul to despair to the point of inaction is PRIDE. "I am such a bad person not even God Himself can rescue me." The sin of pride robs the soul of a sorrow that leads to life and traps that very same soul in a sorrow that leads to paralysis.
But if you choose to sorrow with faith, your sorrow is of a different nature altogether. Here the sorrow is based not on self centered shame but on authentic love of Another. I love God. I long to be with God. I see my own spiritual poverty and I recognize that this poverty is keeping me from my Beloved. Here my sorrow is based on my longing for God and this sorrow leads me to repentance.
We cannot hope for sober joy without first confronting authentic sorrow for the poverty of our soul. But we are at a dangerous intersection of our journey and the Evil One longs to capture us. He will fail if we truly believe that God is good and loving. If we believe that the Father truly longs for we prodigals to return home. If we believe that a generous and loving welcome awaits all those who turn from their rebellion and sin and run home to the Father.
We will confront this sorrowful choice in several places of our lives. As soon as one battle is won, know that many more battles await you, but we can never allow despair. God is for us. Who can be against us.
So, dear ones, let us join the prophet Jeremiah and say "Oh, that my head were waters,And my eyes a fountain of tears..." (Jeremiah 9:1) But let us not sorrow as those who are without hope. God, our loving Lord, will not reject us, ever. Let us pray that our sorrow is not birthed from self centeredness but from a heart that longs for "my Beloved." Let us love God, dear one, for He is truly so lovely.
Come, brothers, weep with me.
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