The Pursuit of Joy

In keeping with the discussion last week on the concept of joy I have a few more thoughts regarding the subject matter. I have to say thankyou to Mr. McCullough because it is a pursuit often misguided. Joy is often conflicted, compromised and frustrated with ‘happiness.’ Let me clarify that there can be cases where there is nothing wrong with being happy. I admit I have been happy from time to time. Got a new computer recently…happy. When Kansas University gave me my Engineering Degree…happy. When gas drops below $3.00….yea right. But the fact is there are so many things that are demanding our attention, taking me back to Malcolm Muggeridge’s eye-opening discourse about how influencial media is. We are a people who have worn ourselves out even in the minutia of life looking for happiness. There is a drug for every pain and an ointment to fix every wound. We demonstrate our nervousness and anxious desire for happiness in that we are always looking for something ‘to do.’ And when the moment passes, we have to start the process all over again.

Joy is a more noble pursuit. I believe two things have to occur. One principle is that the origin of Joy has to be created from God comes from John Piper’s When I don’t Desire God: How to Fight For Joy which I with what he says that:

When all is said and done, only God can create joy in God. This is why the old saints not only pursued joy but prayed for it: “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us” (Ps. 90:15). To be satisfied by the beauty of God does not come naturally to sinful people. By nature we get more pleasure from God’s gifts than from himself.

The second is my belief that at some point a person has to grow more life-changingly weary of trying to be happy. The motivation for doing things, reaching for things, cannot end at a feeling of happiness alone. You may reach it but many times you will not and all the while joy is right there saying “I have been there all the time.” How many illicit relationships, vain purchases, emotional achievements, and flippant statements have occurred in the name of the pursuit of happiness. Perhaps there is a better investment portfolio. Perhaps there is something missing.

When you do not see the conclusion…

Along this journey there are moments when the pathway becomes unclear. Fog sets in, perhaps we have set fire to the journey with our own negligence, sin, and misunderstand. Guides and signs we enjoy step away and when they do it reminds us that we were happier about the guide and sign than what the guide and sign were pointing to. Darkness sets in and we are at a disadvantage. instead of maintaining the right pace, we jump off into other things and ask of it something it could never do. When you do not see the conclusion in the pursuit of joy the reminder is right under your nose.

The question is ‘who made that bridge you are standing on?’ The answer to that question is what sustains  joy.
While you could be drowning in a sea of multiple despairs God has set you on a bridge of certainty. Thank God that Jesus rescues us from our saviors. What is directly ahead pales in comparison to the glory that is to come. He has set a lamp to your feet and light on your path. And has shown you that while pursuing joy may be tumultuous, it is the only option.

Share your thoughts. click the Leave a Comment below and answer these questionsor share other thoughts.

 1What honestly makes you happiest?

2 Do we hava  good concept of joy in America? What are the things you feel have been the biggest influence on our society’s perspective of happiness and joy.

2 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Joy

  1. Peace makes me happiest. I love not getting cursed out. I love not getting robbed. And I love not losing my job. All that stuff is great! Unfortunately, we live in a world where bad stuff happens to and around us all the time. That puts happiness in jeopardy. It’s hard to be happy with a sunken spirit and empty pockets. I guess that makes happiness conditional. (I just had what Oprah would call an “A-Ha!” moment.) However, happiness seems a lot more accessible than joy. Perhaps that’s why our bar is so low. Maybe joy takes more work than we’re willing to put forth. Personally, I tend to gravitate towards easy fixes. I’m lazy. And if buying a new plaid shirt from The Gap is gonna make me happy right now, I’m pulling out the debit card. The temporary may, indeed, be temporary but at least it’s something I can have in the moment. Perhaps patience is what stands between me and true unadulterated joy.

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