Summary: We often talk about the Joy of our faith but what does that Joy look like? And how can we choose to be joyful.
What Jesus Said About Joy
Does anyone remember Balki’s “Dance of Joy”? A few people, does anyone remember Balki and his cousin Larry? The sitcom “Perfect Strangers”? Does anyone know what I’m talking about? I feel so old. And so for all of you who missed this great theatre from yesteryear, here is the dance of Joy in its purest form?
Here we are, week four of our series “What Jesus said About Our Emotions”. Since the beginning of May we have looked at what Jesus said about Love, Hate and Fear. This morning I want to look at what Jesus said about being “Happy” about being joyful.
And I know that sometimes, especially in church we try and separate those things and we say that happiness is tied to our outward circumstances while joy is an inward condition. Even to the point while I was putting this message together that one commentator I read stated that the root of Happy is “Hap” the same as “happen” which shows that it is a result of what happens in our life. I rolled my eyes, decided that I wouldn’t embarrass him by posting his name and picture.
But for most of us that’s a really hard distinction. If we don’t feel happy we find it difficult to say that we are actually experiencing joy at that particular point in our lives. “I am so miserable, but deep down I am full of joy.” I have met people through the years so have testified to having the “Joy filled life” but they look like they fell out of the cranky tree and then got beat with a grumpy stick. They don’t look like happy people and most people wouldn’t say that they were filled with joy either.
And I know the line; well I’m just not very demonstrative, that’s just the way I am, I’m smiling on the inside. Perhaps some of you who were brought up in Sunday School are familiar with the song “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, If you are happy and you know it and you really want to show it, if you are happy and you know it clap your hands.” I’m not sure that we need to walk around clapping or doing the Dance of Joy, but on the other hand I don’t think that Christians should go through life in a permanent grump, looking like they’ve been sucking on lemons. If you are happy at some point it might be a good idea to notify your face.
Jesus told his followers there should be times they “Leap for Joy”, he said they should be “Filled with Joy”, that “Their sadness would be turned to joy”. He said they would have “Abundant Joy” and that nobody would be able to “Steal their joy”. And time after time Jesus told those who chose to follow him to be happy. Not just joyful but to be happy. And he seemed to indicate that it was something that we could control, that it was a choice we could make.
So what is happy? It was Abraham Lincoln who said “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”