Friday, July 18, 2008

joy like a fountain?

"Joy is the serious business of heaven." - C.S. Lewis

Joy is such an abused term. It is equated with happiness. It is thought of in terms of spilling over with excitement. To go to the other extreme, it's a dish detergent - as in, 'washing these dishes with this detergent brings me joy'...yeah! right. So, what is joy? What does it look like, smell like, sound like, feel like? Is it only a feeling? Is it something that happens spontaneously, or is it like love or contentment - you start out with the feeling and then have to choose it to keep it going? How do you get joy? Is it a gift from God? Can you be joyful despite being in a horrible situation?

It's heaven's business to be joyful. Does that mean that it's like a job that they take seriously? That doesn't make sense. I've always thought of joy as being a spontaneous reaction to circumstance...but in recent years, I've started to think that's probably more happiness. But...I do think happiness plays a role in joy. The difference may lie in the will. I think it is more like love, where you have to choose to have it. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience..." etc. SO...if it's a fruit, it can be cultivated - grown. Maybe, as children, we find it so easy to have joy, because life's burdens have yet to be thrust upon us, at least for most children. As you get older, you find it harder to love, harder to trust, harder to give of yourself because of the hurt and heartache that is inevitably encountered in a sinful world. The capacity to have joy becomes harder and harder...even for supposedly "loving" and "peaceful" Christians. I know I've become hardened over the years...not fun to realize, but nonetheless, it is there. So, how does one capture joy?

I don't know enough about anything to be giving advice, much less spiritual advice on anything. But, this blog, while being a spot to catalog my pursuing of a dream, is also becoming a place to muse on what I should be as a child of God. What I am in insufficient and flawed in so many ways, and I want to be better. I want to love without condition, without selfish motive, and without fear. It seems to me, that if this "fruit" gets cultivated, then joy will follow. "Perfect love drives out fear." If that is so, and it's in the Word, then if fear is gone, it will be easier to find joy in life, no matter what is going on around you.

So, while I probably should have stayed more in line with the quote that started this blog, I went my own way and let my thoughts guide me. Maybe someday I'll be further along enough to talk about the content of the C.S. Lewis quote...but not today.

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