What makes you happy? Have you ever contemplated total and complete happiness? I have met few people in my life who have actually defined what joy is for them, let alone achieved it.
What does that mean? Well, I’m not about to assume what it means for you, but I can tell you what I believe.
In the world today, both in and apart from the Church, the idea of being happy revolves around how much money one has. I say the “idea” of happiness because if it’s financially or materially rooted it is no wonder that so many have not found it.
They have not found it because even if you do manage to become a part of the small percentage that is considered solvent, then chances are you are working too hard to maintain it, thus gaining false happiness on one end only to lose it at the other.
I have joy this morning, but I’ll be honest, it’s not complete. There is a competing sadness.
And it has nothing to do with being “happy”, because joy and happiness are not the same.
Think of it as joy being spiritual and from God, and “happy” as being of the flesh.
The joy of Christ in others and the working together as a church to spread that joy is what really makes me happy. When that doesn’t happen some of the air gets let out of my joy.
Seriously. I see money and material as a necessary evil sometimes. It does nothing to make me joyful. If it did I would have stayed making the big bucks and never became a pastor.
I sense the heart of Paul this morning.
Philippians 2:1-2 (Amplified Bible)
“SO BY whatever [appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ, by whatever] strengthening and consoling and encouraging [our relationship] in Him [affords], by whatever persuasive incentive there is in love, by whatever participation in the [Holy] Spirit [we share], and by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy, (2) Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention.”
Yeah…that’s the ticket.
The Source of my joy is Christ. The expression and encouragement of that joy is through His people, the Body of Christ. When that is fractured or minimally achieved my joy is reduced.
If we as the Church are one in the same mind and purpose, then our joy in Christ is complete in that harmony of same mind and purpose.
It’s easy to run and hide from that. I shudder to contemplate the untold hundreds of thousands of Christians who weekly simply come and go, shrinking into the sea of anonymity and acrimony of the invisible church. Small or large, the local church can become a hiding place.
As much of an uphill battle it sometimes is, I will not diminish my hope for pure joy in this lifetime. If what Paul is preaching this morning is not achievable in this life than none of God’s Word is!
I choose to believe in the participation of the brethren with the Holy Spirit for the completion of my joy in this life.
The day I can no longer do that is the day I file my papers.