Welcome to Day 2 of “4 Lies That Rob Me of Joy”
Lies That Rob Me Of Joy:
- I can earn God’s favor
- It’s greedy and selfish to enjoy this life
- It’s not fair that I would have so much pleasure and others wouldn’t
- Joy is happiness
I shared the following already, but it illustrates each of these lies well enough that I’ll share it again.
Their young fingers firmly quiver on cello strings, their hands quickly maneuver bows. They must be about 7 – 14 years old. This young quartet creates a symphony in perfect time. I’m moved by the beauty of these children and their gift. Perhaps this is what heaven is like. How God must delight in them right now! Tears collect in my eyes as I soak in their angelic song.
Joy dissipates, as I suddenly feel completely undeserving of this pleasure. ‘With all the death and starvation around us, how dare I sit here and enjoy this moment. What a lazy, selfish glutton I am.’ Tears stream down my face as joy succumbs to sorrow.
Joy seems to be, in my mind, connected to achievement. If I haven’t earned a particular moment of joy, I shouldn’t have it. (by the way – this doesn’t mean I don’t rest or enjoy or relax … it just means I feel guilty when I do…)
Then I look at my children. Their wide grins and gleaming eyes exude joy – just because. They’re happy to be loved, to play, and to be awake. Giggles and squeals float through the air daily – a chase, a tickle, a tackle, a funny story, a goofy face – all evoke hearty belly-laughs. Every time, I’m blessed and filled with joy - so much I’m afraid I might burst. It wells up.
I can’t imagine if my children held the same view I did – that joy is greedy and selfish. “After all,” I imagine them explaining, “there are children in this world who don’t have parents, homes or food. They never laugh. They don’t have joy. They’re dying. Why should we enjoy anything?”
How do these even compare? We can’t save or help everyone. Losing our own opportunities doesn’t help or harm them. It doesn’t affect them at all to reduce my joy. It does, however, limit me and cause me to become joyless, legalistic and critical. This attitude greatly affects my walk with Jesus. And soon it influences those around me – my children, husband and friends. Even strangers will see a grumpy, haughty example of Christianity and be influenced.
An interesting side note: I noticed, as I looked up scripture about joy and pleasure, that verses about pleasure seemed to be mostly about the sinful pleasures of this world. Those about joy though, focused more on the joy of the Lord – his presence, knowing Him, of delighting in who He is. Hmm.
TRUTH: God is the source of joy. It is not selfish to savor it. Worldly indulgence could easier be called selfish, but the joy God gives is good and cannot be earned anyway. (see Lie #1)
Shining the Light:
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
at our right hand are pleasures forevermore”
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud
and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable.
Their trust should be in God,
who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”
1 Timothy 6:17