Monday, June 17, 2013

Truth + Discipline = Joy

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 5:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You." Psalm 5:11

If there's anything we all seek in life it's happiness. We spend millions of dollars and travel thousands of miles in search of it. A close relative to happiness is joy (the words are often used interchangeably in dictionary definitions).  

[Joy (joi): 1. A strong feeling of happiness arising from the expectation of some good or from its realization; gladness, delight. 2. A state of contentment or satisfaction: to have joy in one's work.] 

 Joy has always seemed to me the more substantive of the two.

Calvin Miller in the first chapter of his book That Elusive Thing Called Joy says:
"Three things I do every morning that my life may possess happiness all day long. The first is to affirm the reality of Jesus Christ and thank Him for His lordship. The second thing is to call to mind the reality of Satan, who will seek throughout the day to make me a miserable contradiction of joy. The third thing I do, is to call to mind the gifts that are mine in Christ" p. 13.

Do you suppose Miller used Psalm 5 as a template of his three daily "call to minds"? For they are all there in David's morning prayer:

1. In Psalm 5:1-4 David reminds himself of the qualities of the God he worships. He acknowledges God as his ultimate authority ("My King"), yet as someone who even as exalted as He is, hears. He is a good God who eschews evil.

2. In Psalm 5:5-6 &  9-10 David calls to mind the reality and strength of evil. He sees it in terms of how God will react to those under its sway. Those who are proud don't have a chance. Liars invite God's destruction. Flatterers who seek to profit from their wickedness and rebellion will be doomed as they follow their own advice.

3. David's reason for joy rests in what he has in God (Psalm 5:11-12). Coming to God's temple reminds him of God's mercy. His meditation about God leads to a request for His guidance. It culminates in a bubbling up of joy as he mulls over the benefits of belonging to such a God: a God who will defend him, bless him, and surround him with favour "as with a shield."

Miller extends the meaning of "the gifts that are mine in Christ" to include the abilities and opportunities unique to each of us as individuals. He continues from the quote above:
"…If I live each day faithful to my gifts, developing and improving them, I find I am indeed a happy person. If I am sloppy and careless in developing my gifts, I find a predictable negativity fixing itself into my day." p. 13.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to frame my day with right and realistic thinking in regard to You, the reality of evil and my responsibility. May I look to you today (and every day) as my source of genuine, lasting joy. Amen.

MORE: God does not exist to make us happy
"God does not exist to make us happy. Anyone who holds such a preposterous view of God is going to have a miserable relationship with Him. The attitude of many Christians seems to be that He exists to lavish His children with soul-contentment so that we may "lollygag" in spiritual ecstasy between conversion and death. God is a giver, but He does not give joy. He gives redemption, meaning, security, love, victory, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And our happiness is our response to His gifts."
- Calvin Miller, That Elusive Thing Called Joy, pages 11-12.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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