Saturday, December 08, 2012

Live in Joy -XVII

I have completed looking up all the places where joy is mentioned in the Old Testament. And it continues as we have already observed: joy is generated by living in relationship with God and living in agreement with his design.

However, I found myself asking the question, "Why is joy important?" We saw when we began this exercise, that joy is part of the picture of man living in holiness. Joy is a natural result of man living in relationship with God and a natural result of a life of obedience. Joy was a daily component of Jesus' life, because he lived closest to God and was the most obedient person whoever lived.

We tentatively defined joy as an attitude of positive enthusiasm or passion toward life.

I recently finished a book called "Born to Run." The basic premise of the book is that human beings were designed for long distance running. (We are also designed to seek out greater efficiency. That's why people seek ways to avoid running.) The author presented information from science and anthropology to illustrate the theme. Interwoven with the rational "proofs" were stories from primitive tribes famous for running, and stories from the world of ultra-marathons, that is, races of 50 to 100 miles.

At one point, one of the characters realizes the spiritual aspect of running. Successful, excellent running is based on joyfully embracing it. Joy motivates its pursuit. Joy motivates continuing with or without outside reward.

Motivation is pivotal in any endeavor. Without improvement or any other reward, it is only an internal heart motivation that urges a person to continue a difficult course of action.

And pursuing holiness in a corrupt world can never achieve any real success. There can be improvement, even significant improvement, but never real mastery. Joy becomes an important motivation towards pursuing holiness, as well as an indicator of success - as it is a "natural" result of living in agreement with God. Joy can be part of creating an upward spiral by motivating greater obedience.

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