If anyone found joy in having a bat in his hands, it was Mickey Mantle. According to some critics, Mickey Mantle had the potential of surpassing the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth in the elite echelons of baseball lore. Possessing great speed, strength, and the uncanny ability to bat with both hands, Mantle had a stellar career with the New York Yankees from 1951–1968. He was named the American League MVP three times. He also won the American League Triple Crown and Gold Glove. Mantle was voted onto the American League All-Star Team in 16 of his 17 seasons and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mickey Mantle could have accomplished even more athletically had he never simultaneously begun a 42-year career of alcohol abuse. Alcohol destroyed Mantle’s mind, causing him to forget simple things like the day of the week or where he was. It destroyed his peace of mind. It destroyed his body. It shortened his career. Worst of all, alcohol destroyed Mantle’s family — his wife and four sons all became alcoholics. So much for joy in a bottle.

Joy doesn’t come from a bat or a bottle. It only comes from a relationship with God, as Mickey Mantle discovered when he accepted Christ as his Savior at the end of his life. Seeking joy in the wrong places will become a liability which will affect us for the rest of our lives (or even end our lives prematurely).

The source of your joy has the power to control you. Your feelings will change. Your abilities will change. Your desires will change. Your friends will change. You will even change — but God never changes. If true joy stems from the relationship you have with Him, then the first question to ask yourself is, do I have joy? If you are deficient in joy, then it follows to ask, how is my relationship with God? Evaluate your thoughts and actions for anything which is negatively affecting this relationship and draining you of your joy reserve. Cut it loose, and you will gain abundant joy today.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.