Category Archives: Joy
God’s laws are designed 100% for humans. It is crucial to understand and believe that if we are to observe God’s law in the fashion God intended. In the first post of this series we postulated that God’s Laws are designed for us, that God’s ego is not deflated when we inevitably fail and fall short, and we don’t hurt God’s feelings when we transgress His Law. In part two, we did a case study on the Fourth Commandment which appears to buttress that conclusion. We conclude here in part three by looking at the practical application of these principles in the world around us.
Let’s start by considering rule-making and enforcement by human parents with regard to their children. For whose benefit do parents make rules such as “don’t push coins into electrical sockets,” “look both ways before crossing a street,” or “don’t eat cookies without asking me first.” Are parents making these rules just to show off their power or to remind their kids who is in charge? Or because they Love their children and want the best for them?
Yet, we often treat our Heavenly Father like a dictator who has nothing better to do (like, say, run a Universe) than sit around all day coming up with rules and regulations to tyrannically impose on humans. Are we ever going to grow out of this stage and finally realize God isn’t trying to control us? Can we accept that God makes laws for our benefit? God is All-Powerful. He doesn’t need to “flex His heavenly muscles” to make us comply. He could have easily made us without the power to choose. He wants the best for us and does not want us to get shocked by electricity, or run over by a car, or to begin eating habits that may lead to us being unhealthy or obese.
God did not create us because He had some laws on the books that no one was following . . . He designed the Law to bless humans and bring us abundance. He designed the law because He Loves us. Period. Anytime we search the Bible to find a verse or two, for or against some proposition, without any consideration to the peace, Joy, Truth, or Love it will add or subtract to human Life – we can be confident we are neither analyzing the law as God intended nor applying it the way Jesus would.
The Pharisees, because they were unable to perfectly keep the law, instituted a complex and confusing system of Sabbath regulations that was oppressive, legalistic, and sucked all the Joy and Blessing out of the Sabbath. Their strict and merciless interpretations of the Sabbath included 613 specific injunctions amongst 39 categories of forbidden activities. The Pharisees had unwittingly elevated “The Law” to a position as high, or higher than “The Lawgiver.”
Jesus consistently criticized the Pharisees legalistic interpretations of God’s law which glorified judgmental behavior and cheapened Love and mercy. Jesus called Himself the “Lord of the Sabbath” because He created the Sabbath. The Creator is ALWAYS greater than the Creation. Rigidly following the Commandments neither upholds the ‘Greatest Commandment’ nor acknowledges that God reigns above His Creation, which includes His laws. You might say that elevating the law to the same level as the Author of Law is a risky proposition which comes perilously close to blasphemy.
We might say it was just silly religious leaders some 2,000 years ago who did this. But what if we do, too? Is it possible that we have taken “The Ten Blessings” and turned them into “The Ten Commandments” by our joyless and unloving interpretations and applications. Have we sucked all the peace, Joy, Truth, and Love out of God’s law? Do we correctly view God’s commandments as a benevolent blessing of freedom and abundance? Or do we on occasion employ the Decalogue as a platform of judgment and condemnation? Is it possible that if we decided to embrace and observe God’s law as intended that “The Ten Blessings” would bring us Peace of Mind, Joy, Truth, Love and abundance?
To your peace, joy, truth and love,
“We need Joy as we need air.
We need Love as we need water.
We need each other as we need the earth we share.” – Maya Angelou
“Joy is untouched by circumstance.” – Unknown
“Release the Joy that is inside of another, and you release the Joy that is inside of you.” – Neal Donald Walch
“Winning is important to me, but what brings me real Joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I’m doing.” – Phil Jackson
“Joy is a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters.” – Oprah
“If you are not living in Joy, you are out of integrity with your Soul.” – Michael Beckwith
“Man Loves because he is Love. He seeks Joy, for he is Joy. He thirsts for God for he is composed of God and he cannot exist without Him.” – Sathya Sai Baba
“You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the Joy of your presence.” – Acts 2:28 New Living Translation
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson
“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our Joy and the dividing of our grief.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
“He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh.” – Qur’an
” No matter what your current situation is, you’ve never been more blessed than you are right now. Every second we get is an absolute miracle.”-Johnnie Ivery
“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” – Richard Wagner
“Joy is the infallible sign of the Presence of God.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“It is okay to feel more Joy than the people around you. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give. They need our Joy, not our sadness.” – Unknown
“There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding Joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go.” – Frederick Faber
“The only true measure of success is the amount of Joy we are feeling.”-Abraham Hicks
“Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of Joy.” – Sarah Breathnach
“When you feel someone else’s pain and Joy as powerfully as if it were your own, then you know you really Loved them.” – Ann Brashares
“…Weeping may last for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
“Real Joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.” – Wilfred T. Grenfell
“You will show me the way of life, granting me the Joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”- Psalms 16:11 NLT
“Joy springs from within; no one makes you Joyous; you choose Joyfulness.” -Unknown
“A thing of beauty is a Joy forever.” – John Keats
“Your true nature is purity, peace, and Joy. ” – Sai Baba
“…keep knocking, and the Joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there.” – Rumi
“The artesian well of Joy never runs dry. We clog it with our thoughts.” – Don Blanding
“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” – Voltaire
“Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.” -Abbot Coumba Marmion
“I am a gift of Joy that God gives to a wond erful world.” – Ernest Holmes
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, Joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Guatama Buddha
“What I know for sure is that you feel real Joy in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your Truth.” – Oprah
Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained. – Terry Pratchett
I slept and dreamt that life was Joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was Joy. – Rabindranath Tagore
TABLE OF COMPARISON: HAPPINESS v. JOY
|How most used:||Adjective||Noun|
|Definition:||1. Pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person.2. Characterized by or indicative of pleasure, a happy mood.3. Favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land.
4. Quick to use; as a trigger-happy gangster or gadget-happy techie.
|1. Delight caused by satisfaction2. Source is usually something or someone greatly valued or appreciated:Her prose style is a pure joy.
3. The expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
|Synonyms:||Fitting, opportune, pertinent, cheerful, merry.||Satisfaction, contentment, well-being.|
|Source:||Something outside oneself. Achieving or purchasing something desired, pleasure resulting from healthy or unhealthy choices, being praised by boss for something done at work.||A state of being derived from within. Living in gratitude for what one possesses, satisfaction from developing good habits or healthy lifestyle, a general increase in career aptitude.|
|Emotional Frame:||Exhilaration, excited, triumphant.||Contentment, satisfaction, peace of mind.|
|“Fruit of Spirit”||No.||Yes, after Love (Gal. 5.22-23)|
|Example:||Favorite team wins a championship; someone complements you on the clothes you are wearing, buying a new car, winning the lottery||The team you coach showed improvement all year, you have worked hard to improve your style, you are grateful for having a car; giving birth to child (although almost always resulting in UN-happiness during labor)|
|Created by:||Luck, fortune, chance, external events, beating an opponent at a game or sport, being favorably compared to someone else, victory, winning.||Increasing Love and Truth in Life, working hard at something important, improving daily without comparison to others, prayer, gratitude, meditation.|
Yes! There is a difference. Although we tend to use these words interchangeably, they are worlds apart. Happiness describes a temporal emotion which can come and go faster than you can read this post. Joy describes a long-term state of being.
Happiness is external. It’s based on other people, circumstances, events and things that are not in your direct control. Happiness is linked with your hope for a promotion, or your love interest liking you back, or your favorite team beating the Eagles. Your happiness, or unhappiness, depends on how closely your expectations match reality. If “how things should be” is different then “how things are” – you will be unhappy.
So if your year-end bonus exceeds your expectation, that will make you happy. You are sad when you don’t receive one. You will be happy if your dating interest seems genuinely anxious to spend time with you. But sad when she flakes on your big date. You are happy when Tony Romo throws 5 touchdowns and Philly ‘Fears the Star.’ You are unhappy when the network switches to ice skating in the third quarter because the Eagles are up, 47-3.
Joy, however, is internal. It is present in the Lives of those who know their Truth and possess an abundance of Love. Joy exists even when one is unhappy. A good example is a soon-to-be-mother who is unhappy while in the pain of labor, but joyous to deliver a beautiful child. There are times when life is filled with sorrow and even misery (unhappiness), but it is still great to be alive. (Joy)
There were two dudes wrongfully sent to prison. There were no windows. You couldn’t walk around. You were shackled underneath the Town of Philippi until you died. Faced with this unbearable reality, these guys burst out singing. Why? Because they couldn’t help themselves. They Lived in Joy and thus complete freedom. They were not ‘happy’ to be in prison. But prison was merely a circumstance. In didn’t define them. They lived in Truth and in Love, and thus Joy was their reality!
Complete Freedom is Joy.
Silas and Paul understood that complete freedom is joy. They knew that gratitude for what one has – instead of covetousness for what one lacks, makes all the difference in Life. A Joyous state produces a fulfillment and satisfaction with life that cannot be shattered or shaken. Joy, true joy, never depends on a number in your bank account, the current weather conditions, or what model car you drive. To live in joy, is to consistently think about the person we wish to become and take daily action to become that person. If we do, we will find joy, peace and freedom. . .
. . . whether we are on top of the world . . . or chained in a cold, bleak, dank, hopeless, lifeless prison.
Life will chain you in that Philippi prison every now and then. When we lose someone we love, a relationship ends, or the inevitable struggles and frustrations of this world occur. The best way to regain your joy is to take a few minutes to reflect on the things for which you have cause to be thankful. Gratitude is an incredible joy producer.
And burst out in Joyful singing!
From my heart to yours,