It is hard to describe joy as work for most of us. But we must fight for our joy. We must strive to live in God’s peaceful delight.
One of the reasons we don’t see joy as part of our spiritual life is because we compartmentalize. Let’s try to fix some of that. Here are 3 Myths About Joy which were can combat in our Family Worship.
1. Joy = Laughter
We relate joy with laughter, one of many outward results. This most explosive expression takes over the whole body.
The spontaneity that is often associated with laughter can be misleading sometimes. For example, if we use and see laughter as interchangeable with joy or happiness, we will wonder why we lack joy based on the amount of time between cackles.
You might also measure the depth of happiness on an arbitrary scale based on the heartiness of the outward demonstration. So a chuckle indicates that we aren’t at as high a level of joy as when we giggle.
When we say it like this, of course, we agree it’s all ridiculous sounding. The truth is we often don’t put words to the subconscious thoughts we adopt. If we did, we find ourselves dismissing many popular notions.
The same applies when people try to gauge the interaction between God and His people in a gathering based on their demonstrative nature. Just like God has different kids with different temperaments, emotions, personalities, and expressions, so do we.
Laughter is a medicine. Laughter is wonderful. Serving God often brings laughter.
The fickle hearts of humans and the deceptive nature of the spectrum of reactions make for a difficult task when determining whether or not we or our kids are living in and relying on the joy of the Lord as our strength.
2. Joy > Happiness
The Bible makes no distinction between these two.
Why do we? We apply modern cultural paradigms to our worldview but fail to test them against the scripture.
I hear the argument that happiness is expressed outwardly and joy is something richer and deeper that is found within but that’s not how the biblical authors looked at our wrote about these two concepts. Recently, a respected Christian author made this very clear. I can’t pretend to have made this discovery on my own.
Joy should be recorded outwardly. Back to number 1, we can’t start comparing and measuring widths between grin lines or decibel levels of laughs. But we can and should be known as joyful people.
Some of the most happy, most joyful people I know were quiet and peaceful types. I have witnessed most of them carry the same composure through very dark trials and hardships. True joy ONLY found in God.
Joy/Happiness is an inner strength that often gets to flex when opposed.
3. Joy is an uncontrollable force of nature
The joy we hold to comes from heaven. This doesn’t mean that earth will not affect it. Circumstances try but cannot deter a joy found in its true source, Joy.
Joy, like all of life, is embattled on every side by many obstacles.
We can momentarily lose our joy. We are humans. The closer we draw to God however, the more unshakable our joy becomes. Part of our sanctification is God’s working out His salvation in us through joy.
John Piper‘s calls this Christian Hedonism. Piper changes a preposition (and) in the first statement of the Westminster Catechism to say, “The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever.”
How should we seek the glory of God in our lives and the lives of our families?
Are we producing joyous children?
Are we joyous children (of God)?
Can we begin to view joy as a spiritual discipline?
Can we pray through our joy for more joy?
Will we search high and low through His Word for His joy?