Sunday, November 17, 2019

Looking for JOY in All the Wrong Places by SUSAN HARRIS

 The pursuit of joy has dominated the headlines in recent years. Books, television shows,  blogs, and speakers have claimed passage on the train of joy, with lucrative rewards and unending buzz. Woeful closets of clothing and garages full of décor and whatnots abound in the elusive attempt to capture joy by de-cluttering. Struggling to capture what money can’t buy. Using the wrong methods, looking in the wrong places.

For true joy has already been paid for; it finds its roots at the Cross. The Scripture tells us that joy is the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit who came after Christ ascended to Heaven works in us to produce the character of God, of which joy is one such characteristic. 

Galatians 5:22-23 points us to the origin of joy - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (NASB, caps added).

Joy is God’s divine nature and character. In Genesis God spoke and viola, joy appeared in tangible abundance – singing birds, frisking animals, babbling brooks, fluttering leaves, blooming flowers, shining sun! 

Could it be that instead of stuffy closets the expression of nature is where we find joy? 

With God’s spirit in us we radiate joy. We become contented with little. 
The Oxford dictionary defines greed as “Intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.” In Luke 12:15 Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 

1 Corinthians 6:10 endorses that thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. Could it be that the sin of greed confronting us wear down our souls and de-cluttering is an attempt to remove that sin? (Although truly sin can only be removed through repentance - an acknowledgement of sin and turning around from the behavior.)

The need to hoard and cram our spaces runs deeper than most like to admit, and unless a light is shone in those dark spaces, television shows, books, blogs and speakers will be futile. People may show us how to keep house better, how to organize, how to apply common sense to daily living, but they cannot claim joy because they do not own joy. 

Joy does not originate in writers of books and producers of TV programs.  They cannot spark joy because joy is not theirs to spark. Only the originator of joy can spark it and light it aflame in your life.

Joy and happiness are often mixed up terms. The root word of happy is “hap”, which means “chance”. This leads me to believe that  happiness is a temporary (chance) state. 

Happiness is also an emotion. Ecclesiastes 3:4 identifies that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” The words “a time” suggests specific periods rather than permanence, or an emotional state all the time. 

Joy on the other hand can be achieved alongside the downs of life, for the Holy Spirit is with us at all times to produce it. While God wants us to experience happy times His greater desire is that we have unconditional joy. Jesus said His joy would be filled in us and remain in us. We will overflow. (John 15:11).

How can we be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38 gives the solution:  “‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ ” 
De-cluttering and downsizing are practical methods of organizing, providing opportunity to give away the things one has in excess to those in need.
But to say it sparks joy or lights a joy-fire is pathetic. 

It feels good to help others. It feels great to have a neat place to live in (especially  for social media pictures). But it does not produce joy. It may produce happiness, yes, but it cannot produce joy.

The Bible commands us to live joyfully.  Philippians 4:4 mandates: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

Jesus is the source of our joy. He was born both divine and human, died, and was buried. He rose alive having taken our sins in exchange for His life.

If you would like to invite Jesus into your life, this prayer sincerely spoken will do it: Dear Jesus, I have sinned and I need your forgiveness. I invite you to be my Saviour and Lord. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and for giving me eternal life. Amen. 

I encourage you to join a Bible-believing group where the Holy Spirit is taught and grow into your new life in God. Find joy in the right place. 

Susan Harris is the author of several books and host of ETERNITY on Access7 television. Her passion is to lead people to Jesus so they can live with God the Father in Eternity. 

Her newest book Touched By Eternity: A True Story of Heaven, Healing, and Angels is available anywhere books are sold. 
ISBN:978-0-9949869-4-8 (pbk)
ISBN:978-0-9949869- 6-2 (ebook


Peter Black said...

What a clear 'Good News' Gospel presentation, Susan! I'm sure that my experience and expression of 'life-joy' in recent years have been more consistent and deeply rooted, and that it's because - as you say - on account of what God has accomplished for us through Christ's sacrifice on the cross, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Ingratitude is a joy killer; I'm seeing that in various folk around me; whereas gratitude can be a 'joy-pump primer'! ~~+~~

Susan Harris said...

Gratitude is rooted in the Father, Peter, so it brings joy. Ingratitude is a mark of the evil one - always at war with the Father. It bears out in your observation.

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