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Going Nowhere Fast” Series #2 “The Perpetual Busyness Life” Joy (spiritual gladness)

21 Feb

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It says in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those words are the preamble to the American dream. But more than 225+ years later, the innocent, hopeful intentions of our founding fathers have become blind and dangerous compulsions.

We all know we can’t buy happiness, and we are often surprised by what brings us happiness and frustrated by what we believe should make us happy.

It has been suggested that we are becoming a nation of men and women who, in the quest for happiness, all too often fall short of achieving any kind of inner peace. Instead of life’s journey being an exhilarating adventure into the unknown, for many of us it is a compulsive and tiring trek, an exhausting journey where the next stop for replenishment never seems to arrive.

George Santayana: “A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in an imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one’s life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted.”

“Many apparently successful people feel that their success is underserved and that one day people will unmark them for the frauds they are. For all the outward trappings of success, they feel hollow inside. They can never rest and enjoy their accomplishments. They need one new success after another. They need constant reassurance from the people around them to still the voice inside them that keeps saying, “If other people knew you the way I know you, they would know what a phony you are.” – Howard Kushner.

 Happiness is not about having what we  want…but wanting what we have! In many ways, happiness is within us waiting to be discovered.

 In the grand and deeply moving prophesy of the ancient prophet Isaiah, it was foretold that when Christ comes He would impart to His people “the oil of joy” for mourning (Isaiah 61:3). Joy has always been one of the most significant hallmarks of God’s people. Joy springs from the presence of God in a person’s life!

Millions of men and women across the centuries attest to a transformation in their lives. It is what is meant by Paul in Romans 14:17: “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” God is here! He is alive! He is in charge!

I ask you, “Do you have that joy?” It’s obvious that many people don’t. And you’ve been around them, haven’t you? They’re grumps, they’re gripers, they’re very negative about virtually everything that happens in life, complaining almost all the time. As a result, they just aren’t much fun to be around.

One of my favorite stories about a person with a grumpy personality begins with a man going into the doctor’s office. As he walked in, he was met by the receptionist. He told her that he had a sore on his chin that he want-ed the doctor to examine.

She said to him, “Down the hall, first door to the right, & take off your clothes.” “But ma’am,” he said, “it’s just a sore on my chin. I don’t think all that is necessary.” She repeated, “Down the hall, first door to the right, & take off your clothes.” “But ma’am,” he said. “Down the hall, first door to the right, & take off your clothes.”

So he went down the hall, took the first door to the right, walked in & saw another man already sitting there in his boxer shorts, shivering. He said to him, “Boy, that receptionist is really something, isn’t she? I just have a little sore on my chin & she told me to come down here, go through this door & take off my clothes.” The man in the boxer shorts said, “You think that’s bad? I’m the UPS delivery man.

There are some difficult people, aren’t there? “Some cause happiness whenever they go; some, whenever they go.”  And what they need is a personality transplant.

Let me give you a definition of “joy.” “Joy is an evidence of the presence of God in your life.” If God is in your life, if you are filled with the Spirit of God, then this fruit of the Spirit will be obvious in your life.
(Jesus Others You)

Now don’t mistake happiness for joy. It’s easy to do that. The Bible mentions “joy” or “rejoicing” 330 times. But it only mentions “happiness” 26 times. Happiness depends upon what happens to you. So if all the circumstances are right, then you can be happy. But joy comes from inside.

The Workaholic Test

  1. Is work the primary source of your identity.
  2. Do you believe work is good, and therefore the more you do the better person you are? Do you brag about the “long hours?
  3. Do you feel you are unworthy unless you are pushing to the point of fatigue?
  4. Do you think you are indispensable; do you often work while you’re sick?
  5. Do you control your work or does your work control you?

 The Eight Characteristics of a ‘Driven’ Person

  1. Are you gratified only by accomplishment, and the need to acquire more?
  2. Are you preoccupied with the symbols of accomplishment, status symbols like: titles, office size, flow charts and special privileges?
  3. Are you obsessed with growing “it” bigger, faster?
  4. Does your personal integrity sometimes lose out to your ambition?
  5. Do you sacrifice people and people skills for the job?
  6. Do you find ambition is a competition to have and hold onto more than others?
  7. Do you have a temper when things don’t go your way?
  8. Are you abnormally busy, and too busy for the pursuit of ordinary relationships in marriage, family and friendship – even God?

 A treadmill becomes a treadmill because it doesn’t answer our real needs. It carries us along, gathering momentum because we’re secretly feeling worse – we secretly give up hope, as feeling better seems increasingly elusive.

 Asking the Age-old Question: “What are you looking for?”

(Eccl 2:10-11)  “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. {11} Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

 We are all looking for something that brings JOY. Our perpetual busyness rat-race is a search for JOY!

  1. We are trying to find a spiritual experience within the material world.
  2. We are trying to find something that validates our life.
  3. We are trying for an eternal reality in every day life.
  4. We are trying to find “God-with-us” in the material things of life.

Biblical truth: True joy is found only in Jesus Christ!

(Gal 5:22)  “But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy…”

“Joy” (chara) is the virtue in the Christian life corresponding to happiness in the secular world. On the surface they seem related. But happiness depends on circum stances, whereas joy does not. In the NT a form of the word “joy” becomes a typical– and the most popular–Christian greeting (Matt 28:9; Luke 1:28; Acts 15:23; 2Cor 13:11; James 1:1). Joy is particularly full when what was lost spiritually is found (Luke 15:6, 7, 9, 10, 32).

Joy: Defining Our Terms (Old Testament Style):

Expressions for joy and rejoicing used most in the OT are sounds of singing, shouting, noise, uproar, a loud voice, singing praise, musical instrument words, dancing, clapping, leaping, and stamping feet. The most frequent occasions for joy are feasting and sacrifice (Deut. 12:12), celebrating harvest or victory (I Sam. 18:6), enjoying prosperity (Psm 31:7) or rejoicing as part of public worship (Psm. 33:1-3).

 Joy: Defining Our Terms (New Testament Addition)

Of the 326 occurrences of the words for joy in the NT, 131 are found in the 10 letters of Paul (40%). The main word for joy is “charis” which is used 146 of these times. The message of the whole NT is “good news of great joy for all people” (Luke 2:10).

Luke’s gospel is the gospel of joy, while Paul’s letter to the Philippians is the epistle of joy–even though it was written from prison.  The New Testament continues to stress OT usages of joy, but also adds the thought of “joy in suffering and pain.”  This idea is made clear in James 1:1-4, I Peter 1:6-7 and Romans 5:2-5. The joy of service is also stressed to a greater degree in the teaching of Christ and the apostles.

 Defining Our Terms: (Webster Style)

Happiness: the enjoyment of agreeable sensations, pleasure or good luck; fortunate or well-suited. Based Upon: CIRCUMSTANCES.

 Joy: pleasure caused by the acquisition or expectation of good; delight; exultation. Based Upon: HEART.

 Every Life Needs Joy More Than Happiness:

Happiness is external                               Joy is internal

Happiness is based on chance                  Joy is based on choice

Happiness is based on circumstances   Joy is based on Christ                 

  1. The Secret of True Joy: Knowing and Trusting God (Rom. 5:1-11)
  2. Joy comes from understanding the TRUTH on which we stand. (v. 2)
  3. Joy comes from understanding our STANDING or status before God. (v. 11)
  4. Joy comes from REALIZING what God did for us. (v. 6-8)
  5. Joy comes from knowing our eternal DESTINY . (v. 9)
  6. Joy comes from realizing God’s MATURING process. (v. 3-5)
  7. Joy comes from having CONFIDENCE or hope in the future. (v. 2)

 Four Keys to Living a Life of Joy Amidst the “Rat-Race”

“For the Kingdom of God does not consist of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17)

  1. Determine to be motivated by a different STANDARD.
  2. Discover what it means to live your life RIGHT.
  3. Decide that you will live your WHOLE life.
  4. Dedicate your life to seeking JOY rather than happiness.
 
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Posted by on February 21, 2022 in Fruit of Spirit

 

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