Five Minute Friday: Joy

Slong the WAy @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

I’m beginning to cycle into the “I refuse to turn on the computer” phase of my love/hate relationship with technology and thus did not attend the chat last eve. It’s no wonder, really. Twenty-three days into the 31 Days Challenge and staring at the screen for eight hours a day every time I’m at work does that. But it’s impossible to do this blogging thing without the keyboard and the interwebs. So, we press on.

Kate gives us: joy.

Go.

Joy is defined as a “feeling of great pleasure and happiness.”

That freaks us out.

For some reason we Christians have bought into the idea that pleasure and happiness are bad things. Or, if not exactly bad, they are suspect. Over and over we are told that happiness is related to circumstances and must not be an emotion we pursue. Because if we pursue happiness, then we are pursuing things that might be sinful. Because happiness and the desire for it is part of the sinful nature. We are told to instead ask the Lord to develop joy in us, a thing usually very poorly defined. But it sounds holy and righteous.

It’s hard to unpack all of the wrong thinking about this in five minutes.

Yes, the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). We can’t live our lives based on emotions. They don’t have brains. They don’t always appropriately correspond to the situation. We have to make choices based on what we know, rather than what we feel. For example, the wife who feels angry at her husband should not use that emotion as the rationale for cheating on him. She must filter that anger through what she knows to be true, through what God says.

At the same time, emotions aren’t evil. What we do with them certainly can be, but feelings like anger and sadness and surprise aren’t sinful. They just are. They just exist, built into us by a God who knows what He is doing.

So it’s okay to want to be happy.

Life is tough. There are days when you’ve got to put on your helmet and just plow through. It’s not going to be all puppies and rainbows. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. You are going to cry. You are going to get mad.

But you’re also going to be throw-your-head-back-and-belly-laugh happy. It is just as good and right to smile with the Lord and enjoy the pleasure of His company as it is to pour out supplications and frustrations before Him. You aren’t immature or unspiritual when you do so. You aren’t outside the bounds of orthodoxy.

The fact that God deigned to save us and then took it deeper and came to live in us should make us happy. It is a constant circumstance. A thing that never changes. It what we come back to the times of sorrow and screaming. He turns our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). He is a blast. He has a great sense of humor. We are allowed to be happy because of Him.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

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12 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Joy

    1. “They’re not my guide anymore, God is.”

      What a wise statement, Christina! If we take our emotions to the Lord, He will be faithful to direct us in dealing with them.

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  1. “For some reason we Christians have bought into the idea that pleasure and happiness are bad things.”
    I have truly never thought this… thanks for sharing this perspective. I’ve always thought that God calls us to being happy. Even in spite of circumstances, I think He tries to give us something to be happy and joyful about if we look. (Some days are much, much better than others). Of course, how we define happy and pleasure come into play, but I think we can want happy and pleasure and still glorify God in it.

    Your whole last paragraph=yes. There are just some things that happen and I just laugh at God for his wicked sense of humor. He makes things much more fun– and makes joy possible, even on the roughest of days. Knowing Him alone is one of the most joyful things to me. 🙂

    Missed you last night, but understand!! This 31 days is kicking my tail. The chat was quiet last night, so nothing was missed. 🙂 ❤

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    1. I think you’re entirely right when you say that can glorify God in our happiness and pleasure. When we go to Him and seek His will, the things that give us happiness and pleasure will be good and holy because we will desire to please Him.

      Press on with 31 Days! Only one more week!

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  2. According to Psalm 104:15, God made wine to gladden man’s heart. The modern bumper sticker version of this is “Beer is proof God loves us.”

    Yes, that’s a little tongue in cheek, but I think the early development of the Church with its making a dichotomy between suffering on Earth while having everlasting pleasure in Heaven is probably to blame for people experiencing “joylessness” in Christianity. In most forms of Judaism, for example, joy is expected to be experienced both here and in the life in the world to come. That’s probably why religious Jews have traditional blessings for just about everything, from drinking a glass of wine to seeing a rainbow.

    That all good comes from the hand of God shouldn’t be interpreted as something we’re going to receive someday. Although our world is significantly flawed, there is also plenty to enjoy and I believe God intends for us to feel joyful. People make enough mistakes (sins) for which they/we have to repent without feeling guilty for enjoying something God intended to be pleasurable. The same God who created tears also created laughter.

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  3. feeling the same way 23 days in to 31. Great perspective on joy Marie! Sometimes we plow through with our helmets on and find the humor in the hard days and have to laugh too. We’re almost there!

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  4. I skipped out last night too… Day 23 man… we are doing it! I just read somewhere (but who can know where, really?) that there is new information or studies or science or what have you that the heart does in fact have a brain?! I know, right? Mind blown… or heart enlarged… or something? (Clearly it is Friday and I need more coffee!) Love you –and you know I am all about Joy… Lizzing? Not so much!

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  5. I’m a 31 days slacker, but I still know what you mean about the “looking at the computer all day” fatigue. I’ve been getting it, too.

    Love what you say here. I think God gave us joy as a gift, and there’s nothing wrong with being happy as long as we’re not delighting in sin.

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