Joy? Joy. Joy!

Joy, it’s a soap.  Joy, it’s a name.  Joy, it’s a mystery.  Most of my life I’ve been told that joy and happiness are different but have been left with less than satisfying delineation.

“Happiness is about your circumstances.”  This is clear to me and probably you too.  I put on a pair of pants I had not worn in a while and in the pocket was some cash.  Not a ton, but enough to make me happy.  I got a pretty good parking spot the other day, it made me happy.  I got to watch the ballgame with some great friends, it made me happy.  I was able to fit into a pair of pants (the ones with cash in them) and it made me happy.  The connection between circumstances and happiness is pretty easy to make.

“Joy is something inside you despite your circumstances.”  Okay, now the mystery begins.  To be honest; most of what I have read about joy leaves me trying to figure out what it is rather than giving me a better understanding.  If I have it I know it, it is spiritual gladness, it comes from God, it is in your heart, you can have it in spite of circumstances…  These statements are true but do very little to demystify joy and make practical something the bible mentions hundreds of times.

Here is what I am attempting to do.  Understand joy. As you know, this blog is where I flesh out some of my thinking on the matter.  Ready… Set… Go!

I think joy is always about RELATIONSHIPS.  The bible says that in God’s presence is fullness of joy.  Joy is what happens when I live in a connected love relationship with God.  We know this already.  Think of the couple that falls in love.  Every time they are together there is an internal gladness that fills their heart and shapes their world view.  That is what being tight with God does.  When I live into the truth that God indeed loves me and I love Him in return, joy invades me heart and mind and shapes my world view.  It changes the hue of my life, moving me from black and white to full color.

I think joy is always about RIGHTEOUSNESS.  In the bible, nearly 40 different times the words joy and righteousness are neighbors.  They go together and the reason is simple.  When I am in right relationship with God, I enJOY him more.  We know this too.  In any relationship that matters to us, if we have friction and brokenness, joy takes a beating and is eclipsed by stress and strife.  If I want joy, I’ve got to do what God asks.

I think joy is always about A BIGGER PICTURE.  I get bogged down in the now and miss that God is never out of control.  He does not need my life to go right in order for His plans to be accomplished.  The reality is that God is so big and so powerful; He can use anything to accomplish His will.  God has got the juice to do what He plans.  This is the bigger picture.  He made me and He did so for a reason.  Joy arrives in my heart when I see my life as a part of the bigger plans of God rather than the immediate agenda of my day.

There you go some rambling thinking from my friendship with Jesus.  I don’t know if this helps you understand joy but is sure helps me.  Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on July 12, 2010.

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