It's a bit daunting to post this Old Papers post. It's is on the topic of Joy. It's daunting because if you lived in my house this week I don't think joy would be the first word you'd use to describe my current attitude. I'm pretty darn sure my children would think up other words like; cranky or perhaps nagging, or perhaps, "We love her, but let's pool all our money together and send her to visit one of her sisters for a few days (weeks)."
I've temporarily lost my focus and my joy. I think they fell out of my pockets while I was errand-running one day and I've just now noticed they are missing. It's a problem that more coffee just won't solve. At the risk of my hypocrisy meter hitting the red zone here's a talk my mother gave to Princeton seminary wives about 20 years ago on joy as part of her series on suffering:
What is Joy?
God given joy is not the momentary happiness that we receive from possessions, beauty, position in life, career or even our children.
I know that I get happiness from a new car, a new piece of furniture... even a new pair of shoes. But these things go by... the shoes wear out or go out of style quickly.
Happiness comes from:
a clean house... it gets dirty.
a new car... gets old, needs repairs.
new clothes... get dirty and wear out.
my children... they grow up and can sometimes disappoint me
my health... I can become ill.
Joy is not happiness or contentment. God doesn't promise me happiness or contentment. But He does promise me joy.
Romans 5:11 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation."
Romans 12:12 "Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayers."
Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
2 Corinthians 6:10 "...as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything."
Galations 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness"
Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice."
1 Thessalonians 5:16 "Rejoice always."
1 Peter 1:8 "...believe in Him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy."
I John 1:4 "And we are writing this that our joy may be complete."
Therefore, we recognize we must get our joy from a more permanent source. That makes it necessary to re-define joy. Real joy can only come from Jesus. That demands that we know this Jesus before anything can be based on Him. He only can give us lasting joy.
Thus I must:
1. Acknowledge Jesus as God's Son.
2. Acknowledge that he died and was raised.
3. Put this Jesus on as MY Savior.
4. Be ready for the relationship to begin.
I have joy in doing His will and using my abilities that He has given me. I know we all have read and studied the parable of the talents. But look again at them briefly.
Matthew 25:14 A man prepares to go on a journey and brings his three servants in and gives them their talents... 5 to one, 2 to one, and 1 to the last. When he returns and calls for an accounting for the talents, the servant with 5 original talents has earned 5 more, the servant with 2 original talents has earned 2 more. The servant with 1 talent hadn't used his 1 talent thus had even that one talent taken away.
What I want us to really see is that the servant with 5 and the servant with 2 were both told the exact same thing by the returning master. "Well done, enter into JOY of your master." Joy for a job well done! So this permanent last, fulfilling joy comes when I am in a right relationship with God and when I am using My abilities in the manner acceptable to Him.