Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seeking Joy Not Happiness

Living a life that counts means seeking joy not happiness.  (Principle #7)
I used a short, but descriptive telling of the crucifixion of Jesus before making the point, as horrible as this was, no other event since creation has caused more joy - except one - what happened three days later.  How can something so tragic cause so much joy?  That is one of the great spiritual mysteries of all time.  It causes joy because:
1. It's all about God's love for us.
2. It is his plan for our sins!  Grace!
3. It represents the salvation of our souls!
A good look at the kind of joy we have because of the cross tells us some things that joy  is not.
1. Godly joy is not happiness (included it, but the difference is heart vs. happenings)
2. Godly joy is not being free from problems:  Jesus wasn't
3. Godly joy is not getting what you want!
4. Godly joy is not focusing on self but on others!
The story of the Prodigal son in Luke 15 teaches us that joy is being in the arms of our Father.  I would add that joy depends on what you rejoice in!  A pig pen or a waiting and loving Father.  The following are the points and scriptures I used to explain what the Bible says about godly joy.  ( I was fast w/ each point)
1. Roman 14:17  It's a Kingdom quality!
2. Romans 15:13  It comes from God!  (Also see Heb.1:9 "anointed w/ joy")
3. 2 Cor.7:4; James 1:2; 1 Thess.1:6  It transcends trials, struggles, & pain!
4. Gal.5:22  It's the 2nd fruit of the Spirit!  (Important!)
5. Philippians 1:4  We pray with joy!
6. Philippians 1:25; 1 Pet.1:8  It grows w/ our faith and comes from our faith!
7. 1 Thess.2:19;  3 John 4;  Our joy is in loving one another!
8. Hebrews 12:2  It is how Jesus viewed his mission!
9. Jude 1:24  It is how Jesus thinks of us!
God is not mad at us - he loves us.  He is the Father in the story of the Prodigal son, but we tend to see him as like the older brother, and that is a wrong and distorted view of God!  We don't have to earn his love - just accept it and be drawn to it!  If that doesn't fill us with joy - nothing will!

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