I wrote this in 2013, but it rings even truer today!
I finally fully grasped a concept that has been bothering me for a very long time. The idea of joy and the fact that no one has ever really explained it to me, to my satisfaction.
I have heard the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness being the outcome of current circumstance. That joy comes from within and is not dependent on positive circumstances at all. I agree with all of that, but that does not describe joy or how to get it.
Many years ago I gave a presentation on “What Is Your Purpose”. This was before Rick Warren and I never read what he had to say on the subject. As part of that development of my presentation, I discovered there are common moments of joy in our lives. When a Mother gives birth or when we marry our spouse. These moments are often described as moments of joy, but why?
I believe that joy is when our lives are being lived for the purposes that God designed us to live our life for. This thing we define as joy, is when our lives are in harmony with His purposes for our life. Since God loves life, a Mother giving birth is joyful. At that moment of birth, that woman has accomplished a primary purpose that God intended by creating her. She is in tune with His purpose at that exact moment. That is why she experiences joy.
The final nail in this understanding came, when a Pastor talked about Paul’s pre-occupation with the gospel. It was then that I realized what Paul was really motivated by. Paul was pursuing God’s purpose for His life. God did not fall upon Paul and say, “You will do for the job”. To the contrary, God designed Paul before he was born specifically for that purpose. When Paul came in tune with that purpose, Paul experienced joy. More importantly Paul realized he could continue to experience that joy everyday of his life. Paul’s pre-occupation was the pursuit of joy by pursuing God’s purposes in his life.
Take a moment and try to recall your most joyful moments in your life. The birth of a child or marrying your spouse. Now imagine experiencing that joy everyday of your life. Paul figured that out. He figured out what God designed him to be and to do. He held onto his joy, by pursuing God’s purposes for his life. I want that for my life and for everyone’s life.
If there is a primary purpose of the church, for those that have already been saved, I believe it is to help them get in tune with God’s purpose for creating that specific Christian in the first place. Our churches should first be about Christ, but once you have been saved, we should then be about finding that harmony of God’s purpose for each individuals life. Doing that would be a worthy joy filled life.
I have not discovered that yet in my own life (actually in 2016 I did discover it). It is one thing to understand a concept, it takes wisdom and The Body to apply that purpose into ones life. I want to be part of a church that will help me to discover my purpose. To help me to find my harmony. In turn, I want to be part of a body that will allow me to help others to discover this for themselves. I want to be able to be like Paul and to be truly content in all things. As he revealed in Philippians 4:12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
One final image to leave you with. When we stand with our arms reaching up high, we look like a tuning fork. I believe when we are created, God strikes our lives like a tuning fork is struck. We experience joy when we are in tune with that music we were designed to become. We are His music. Written before our birth to be played for His glory. Let us get in tune with that. Let us embrace joy and never release it. Let us be the men and women God created us to be.
I would cherish your thoughts. Especially from my brothers and sisters in the CDA area. I was just given the go ahead to lead a group helping Christians to discover their God Given Purpose. I am calling the ministry BrushFires. Join me.