Thursday, August 20, 2009

Joy: Lesson Number One

When our founding fathers wrote the declaration of independence and our constitution- I think they got one thing wrong. Yes, we should not be denied life and liberty, but I would argue a distinct difference between the pursuit of happiness and of joy. I would argue that happiness doesn't require much pursuit but joy is nothing but a constant journey.

During my Bible study in the spring, we spent a few minutes talking about the difference between joy and happiness. We concluded that being happy is a result of things that happen to you, whether you initiate them or not. Joy, however, is a piece of work. Joy is type of life you live when everyday is lived in the name of our Lord. Joy takes work.

I love my Bible- most probably have this, but it wasn't until this Bible that I discovered that there's a subject index in the back. I frequently go back there to find verses that relate to a specific word (usually how I come up with my "art"). I went back to this index one day to find verses for "Joy" and it was bizarre reading through the verses. None of them actually mentioned "joy" but all of them mentioned suffering. (Feel free to check them out: 1 Peter 4:12-19; Matthew 5:1-12; John 13:1-17; Galatians 5:16-26; Phillipians 4:4-9; Colossians 1:24; and James 1:2-18)

I think this backs up my theory that it takes significant work to have joy. It takes persevering through suffering to even begin to understand joy.

Romans 5:3-5- "Not only so but we rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverence; perseverence, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured our his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us."


  1. First, Romans 5:3-5 is one of my favorites. It's an encouraging verse. Second, I read this recently in a book I'm reading about "water-walking." This is what the author says, "Trusting in the face of fear and challenge produces joy. On the other hand, giving in to fear is a joy-killer." It was a small section on the loss of joy, but I thought of you when I read it and decided to share it...not because you lack any, but rather have an abundance given to you that you joyful pursue. I assumed you into the first part of that quote.
    Third, I look forward to your next chapter and what God teaches you in it. May you be resilient with your faith (not towards it, obviously) and courageous in the face of fear.
    Fourth, did you paint that?

    In Christ our King,


  2. Thank you for sharing that!! What is the title of the book? It sounds great! A few months ago I spent a day with God and He spoke to me a lot about fear and joy and I can't tell you how much I appreciate you writing this to remind me about fear. I've been a little less joyful lately and thank God for using you as a vessel to help me remember what I've learned! Yes- I did paint that. It didn't come out just like I wanted but the meaning far transcends the vision.

  3. Well, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that you painted that. I'm all about that font you used and I love the composition. It reminds me of something I'd do...combining graphic design with painting.
    Yeah, the book's pretty solid. It's called, "If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got To Get Out of the Boat." I was hesitant at first--the title is very self-helpish--but I'm actually enjoying it. I'm grateful that I can hear God through it.