Tuesday, February 21, 2006

the pusuit of happiness

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Jefferson

Consistent Joy comes to those who pursue it. It is not found by those who wait on it to arrive. What usually arrives for those who are passive is pain or sorrow. Life has too many blows to deal us that can easily rob us of Joy if we are not intentional about returning our hearts to Joy each day.

A negative mind-set is a huge problem. It can be the default setting for many. They see all that is wrong. There is a need for certain things to go well before than can be joyful. They have a strong dependance on others to provide joy for them. Joy is always “out there” in the future. It remains elusive because of the thought processes of the negative mind.

A positive mind-set is crucial in order to return to Joy. I must determine to find what is good and hopeful and set my attention there. This is a choice I make. I need not wait for external circumstances to change in order to experience Joy. I can find creative ways to help my self return to Joy. In last weekend’s service, my wife Michelle spoke of creating a Joy Box that contains memories of Joyful times. She has made one for us. It is fun to look into it and remember and return to Joy.

I can set my mind on the beauty of God. I can hope in His word. I can look for good in others. I can pursue doing good for others. I can pray for someone or I can pick up the phone and call and encourage them. I can choose to pursue Joy.

Joy is found in a relationship with Jesus. That is where life is found. One writer said, “For me to live is Christ”. To be filled with His life is to be filled with Joy.

For Me To Live Is Christ. Not…
For me to live is money… and to die is to leave it all behind.
For me to live is fame… and to die is to be quickly forgotten.
For me to live is power and influence… and to to die is to loose both.
For me to live is possessions… and to die is to depart with nothing in my hands.

When things are the object of our Joy, we must live in fear of losing them. When Christ is our central focus He can broaden the dimensions of our circumstances and bring good out of even the most hurtful of times. He delivers us from preoccupation with actions of others who would steal our joy. Jesus calms our fears regarding ourselves and our future and sets us free to explore a joy filled life with Him.

Pursuing Joy in Christ,

In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11

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