April 26, 2010

Why Joy?

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged , at 6:36 pm by Mo Dardinger

Joy is hard. Hard for me to get to. Hard for me to maintain.

Couldn’t the Almighty One require something simpler of us?

How about this for a commandment: chuckle a little every day. I could handle that. I’d just IM one of my fun friends or hunt for jokes online. Funny stuff comes in book form, too. And on DVD. It would be a simple commandment to obey. A cinch.

Or try this commandment on for size: Once a week, do something nice for someone you don’t like. I could do that, too. Maybe not without grumbling a little, but it’s in the realm of what I can handle.

Why did He have to pick joy??? And why does it have to be all the time, without any “time off”?

Always rejoice, constantly pray,  in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16-18, NET).

Rejoice. Give thanks. Always, not just from time to time.

Joy is not easy. I can’t manufacture it. It’s an imported item, not something that my mind and heart naturally produce.

It’s mid-year-review time at my office, and that makes me keenly aware of my inadequacies (not that they are ever far from me). When I focus on my failures and needs, though, I’m not obeying the commandment to rejoice. This is a major clue, I think. The only way to consistently obey the Father’s command to rejoice is to get our eyes off ourselves.

If you’re proud and blind, like I’ve been most of my life, then you may be happy about where you are, pleased with whom you are. I was for years on end, silly Mo. But most of us who truly know the One who made the space-time continuum know that cannot rejoice in ourselves. To find joy, we must focus on Him, on the Giver. He gave us life. He gives us joy. When we come to Him for it. When we bend our wills to follow His will. When we give up our worries and trust Him.

That may be the key right there. When joy is required, the Giver of Joy is needed.

So if we are successfully rejoicing all the time, then we are going to have to be focused on God and His goodness all the time. There just isn’t any substitute. The Giver of Joy wants us thinking about positive, profitable things — which mostly means thinking about Him, about what He has done for us, and about what His great and good plans for His redeemed are.

Go forth, then, and rejoice!


Scripture and/or notes quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C.  All rights reserved.