What We Think We Know

What We Think We Know August 25, 2014

  Is someone with fiftymillion dollars rich?  What if he borrowed it overnight and now owesthousands in interest? 
    The book, “The Millionaire Next Door”, systematicallydemolishes stereotypes of what a rich person looks like and acts like. They don’t tend to have inherited their wealth, own fancy cars, buy the latestfashions, or collect expensive wines.  They tend toward the exact oppositebehaviors.
    I hope these points are useful because they mirror risks andfalse assumptions that threaten our joy.  You may be thinking, “Isn’t thisthe 2nd column about joy?”  Not at all; it’s the third.  Joy iscentral to how we live. 
    Christian and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote, “All menseek happiness. This is without exception. …  This is the motive of everyaction of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” 
    The Bible has a great deal to say about joy and how to haveit.  To have joy, what do we need to believe and how should we act?
    What makes you happy and when?   Much of the wrongwe do is for a moment of happiness that is immediately regretted.  Doesn’tthat make us like a man borrowing fifty million dollars overnight to feel rich,even though it leaves him poorer?
    Do we have joy from a stereotyped list of good things? No, “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” Ironically, a Christian gets more pleasure from possessions than thosedepending on those goods to make them happy.
    Do we get joy from self-indulgence?  Jesus said in John15 that we will have joy from obeying him.  Ironically, after making thesacrifice of doing the right thing, we often have almost no wait before beingjoyful.
    We can be joyful even as we endure difficulties and don’tyet see the full results of our obedience.   Psalm 4:7 says, “Youhave put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”
   Does joy come from trendiness?  Joy is grounded in livingwith the long view, and valuing what will keep its value forever.  Godoffers us joy built on the unshakeable foundation of his love for us. With that said, God doesn’t make us wait.  We begin that joy now.
    Passive waiting for joy is not an act of faith but a failureof faith.  If we keep a present wrapped, we never really get to enjoyit.  If, as my favorite author has pointed out, the “pursuit of happiness”is considered a God given right; remember that pursuit is active, not passive.
    Joy is a gift of God to be claimed and appreciated for Hisglory