We’ve talked a lot in our prayer groups about happiness and joy. Let’s chat about this for a moment or two.
Religion should be joy! The theologian who has no joy in his work is not a theologian at all. Mahatma Gandhi said, “A human’s joy knows no bounds when they obtain something beyond hopes.”
Beyond the realm of just hoping for something—Spiritual euphoria is discovered when you have a happiness to be experienced with all your spiritual might.
II Samuel 6:2-3, 5, 14-15 says: 3.They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4.with the ark of God on it,c and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NKJV): 14 Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. ”
Our FIRST, first lady, Martha Washington said, “The greater part of our joy or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.”
“To get up each morning with the resolve to be joyful . . . is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
God is a God of joy. Jesus Christ said that God is love. Could love condemn you? And of all things, when Love made you, could God say, “I’m disappointed I don’t really love this one? That’s not God. That’s NOT what Jesus said! That’s only a God, that somebody makes up who has a very limited concept. What we say about God says more about us than God.
“Delight yourself in the Lord; and God will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
God is unimaginable love, unimaginable life, unimaginable joy. That’s all God could be—so infinitely beyond anything we can conceive, that we can’t conceive of God except to know God’s much more than we are. I’ve always said, “Oh God, help me to be more loving than I am,” because I know there isn’t any other kind of life worth living. I know I’m not capable of that kind of love, but innately, I am. It’s just that I’ve been programmed to believe I am naturally limited as a human.
In the Bible, Jesus said in three different gospels (so it has importance) that nobody gets into heaven except children. Nobody. Are you a child? Are you childlike? But, stop and think—if you have to be a child to get into heaven, what does a child have? One thing a child has is utter, trusting love. He, or she, quickly learns from us adults to not trust our love. When I’ve been around little children, what’s always impressed me is how they run up to you, reaching out, and expect you to pick them up and hold them. They’re full of love and joy. They know that’s the way they’re meant to be. They know that’s the way the world ought to be. We must re-learn that from them. I hope you can experience and realize the importance and delight of filling yourselves with love and joy as a child.
Isn’t God wonderful? Isn’t life wonderful? It can be—it’s up to you. I think God gave you all the wonderful faculties you need to live a creative, beautiful, unfolding life, IF you will. So, live it. Have faith. That’s what it takes. Have faith that you can. Dare to act like a child of God. And really trust that the world is good and full of love, and it will respond to you with love when you give love. Approach life with the wow factor, explore, and find joy in every day and you’ll become like a little child again.
“In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11
John Piper in his book “Desiring God” says, “The chief end of a human is to glorify God by enjoying God forever. Enjoying God is essential to glorifying God.”
Consider some of the sentences from his book I highlighted:
“…it is unbiblical and arrogant to try to worship God for any other reason than the pleasure to be found in God.”
“Praising God, the highest calling of humanity and our eternal vocation, did not involve the renunciation but rather the consummation of the joy I so desired.”
“My aim is to own up to the amazing, and largely neglected, fact that some dimension of joy is a moral duty in all true worship and all virtuous acts.”
George Bernard Shaw said, “This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of joyful nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can in a joyful way.”
We rejoice in God’s love. We feel God’s love. Whatever we may pray, we can know that God’s will for us is fulfillment, because God is love. God’s will is for us unfolding ourselves and being all that God made us to be. God made us to experience joy as a child again. God made us in God’s infinite wisdom, infinite love, and infinite joy.
God is wisdom and light. It shines in the very center of our being, at the very center of our mind as we focus on the Divine in prayer . . We are never finished discovering the wonders and the treasures and gifts for us to open as God’s child.
The light of God brings forth awareness of the talents and abilities we have been given by God. We rejoice anew in God’s life. Every thought in our mind, every feeling in our heart, every cell in our body, rings like a beautiful bell, just as the sound of bells is the sound of life. God lets us know that life is singing its song as it courses through our body—through our nerves calming with God’s tranquility, through our veins bringing new God-given life, and through every cell of our being, shouting aliveness and new vitality. We rejoice in God’s life.
We rejoice in all the good God has bestowed on us because God is our ever-present good. We can know that God’s will for us is the fulfillment of our every need. God is the source of our prosperity and success. God is the source of our peace and security. God is all around us and in us. God is love. God is joy. God is light. God is life. And God is ALL good.
And as we worship Sundays, we give thanks to our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – for the awareness of our joy in love.
God made us with infinite possibilities. Children let themselves be what they are made to be; that’s all. The child does everything just as he or she is led to do it. We are all children of God. We are a living new joyous song of life. The more we succeed at it, the more quickly the world will begin to sing that song with us.
God wants us to meet in this Divine appointment, to accept our love and joy as a divine and permanent gift. May this gift give us something we carry daily in our soul and our mind and feel in our body. May this joy from God carry us during our good times and our difficult times.
In Jesus Christ’s name… Amen