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Our congregation is working through John 13-17 in our sermons right now. Jeremy Jackson, one of our elders, was teaching on John 15:9-17 a couple weeks ago, and he presented a very interesting definition of joy. Joy can't be mere pleasure, because you wouldn't then have it while experiencing severe persecution. But it also seems to be an emotion of some sort. So many of the biblical discussions of joy seem to involve overflowing with some kind of excitement. It can't be mere resignation to the difficult things in life. It's certainly not the outward look of happiness that many have meant when they've told me I should show more joy when leading worship.

So what is joy? Jeremy defined it as the exhilaration of the accomplishment of something worthwhile, in particular of God's accomplishment of something worthwhile in whatever situation we are in. He also likened it to spiritual adrenaline for Christ. When we were looking at Habakkuk at a one-day retreat about a week later, he recast his definition as conscious experience of the fact that God delivers you and the sober exhilaration in the awareness that God's purposes are being worked out. I think this is it exactly. This not only avoids the various things I said above that joy isn't but also explains how someone can be sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as Paul described his own life (II Cor 6:10). I was going to connect this up with some of the ancient philosophers' views on the good life (in particular the Greek concept of eudaimonia), but I think it's more important right now that I finish grading some papers on the ancient philosophers so I can hand them back tomorrow, and maybe this will go into the growing file of things to finish blogging about.

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Is Mohammad mentioned in the Bible that Christians and Jews hold dear? I never thought about it until today. David Wood, in an excellent article on the website "Answering Infidels", begins this way, "According to Muslims, the Bible is full Read More


Wait a minute... didnt you just tell me something different in Schine? Here you quote JeremyJ as saying

JOY is "(A) the exhilaration of the accomplishment of something worthwhile, (B) in particular of God's accomplishment of something worthwhile in whatever situation we are in."

If we just look at (A), what we see can be said without reference even to God... i.e. any Joe can be joyful.

(B) sounds right.

What I thought I heard was something like, JOY is the exhilaration of seeing something worthwhile get accomplished for the sake of the Kingdom, i.e. for God's sake. Like seeing more people come to faith or seeing the Gospel spread.

i.e. Joy = Kingdom Progess

God bless,

As I looked over my notes, I wasn't sure which he was saying. I didn't get the grammar of the sentence exact because I was writing quickly, and I didn't want to put words in his mouth that I wasn't sure he was saying. Does he think there's such a thing as secular joy but with the more particular kind of Christian joy as being on another level? Or does he think joy just is Christian joy?

I wasn't sure which he meant, so I tried to leave it open as best I could. There certainly is a feeling of exhilaration that you can feel at accomplishment even admist sorrow, completely apart from anything of spiritual value, and it's easy to argue that Christian joy is a species of that, but it's also easy to argue that it's a species with much greater value if the accomplishment is something permanent. Ultimately, the semantic dispute isn't the issue, but I probably should ask him which he meant.

I think you have the words right, but the ideas are not quite connected. Joy is something expressed; usually in feeling. It is the fruit of the spirit

galations 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...".

It is a gift. You must love something before you can 'receive' joy, correct? You can't love something without God, (which may be indirectly or directly love sports -> God made sports -> You love God; however, love must be defined as unconditional otherwise it is not love eg. you love sports -> you hate a certain team -> You hate+love God -> this doesn't make sense;therefore you do not love God;therefore you cannot receive joy because you are too busy not loving), you can't be something without love, (every person is given love by God,but everyone has free will so whether it is received is up to that person. However, God never gives up;God is love (replace all references of love with God):

I Corinthians 13:4 " 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"

Joy comes from love. It is like rain. You must have a sky before it rains. You must have ground for it to land on. You must have air so it can freely fall. Rain will make pools of water collected. Rain may be blocked by the umbrellas of people; rain cannot be stopped. Rain will flow freely from hilltops to valleys. Without rain there isn't much life.

In conclusion, Joy is Love expressed.

Philippians 4:1 "Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!"

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I never said it wasn't a gift. I'm not sure where you got that impression.

I'm not sure what you mean by saying you can't love something without God. On one level, that must be true, because you can't do anything without God. If God didn't sustain you, you'd cease to exist. Common grace is God's allowance of things like love among even people who don't love God. But if you mean that you can't love in any sense unless you love God, I don't think that follows. It's not the kind of love that God has for us if it's not motivated by the same sorts of things, but common grace allows for that sort of thing just as it allows people not to be murderers, thieves, adulterers, and coveters.

Love certainly is not unconditional, especially God's love for his children (countless contrary claims of evangelicals notwithstanding). God's special love for his childen is conditional on one essential fact, namely that they are his children. It's true that in a broader sense God loves everyone, but that doesn't mean every aspect of God's love is unconditional.

Similarly, though our love for those who are not naturally going to provoke our love stems from our desire to be like God in loving the unlovely while they are our enemies, we need to remember that our love for God is very much provoked by what God is like, in particular that God is as far from being unlovely as possible, even if we can't fully appreciate that. As the most perfect, love-provoking being, God draws love in a way that doesn't resemble the love that forsakes conditions. Love for God is the kind of love that simply appreciates what is good.

Since joy is exhilaration in the good despite what other emotions might be present (and indeed right to feel), there is a real connection between joy and loving what is good, and God is the highest good. I don't think joy is love, however. It's enjoyment of the thing that is loved. Love seems to me to be a more ongoing element of one's character, whereas joy is an emotional state that more easily comes and goes.

Very nice post. Joy is something that we cannot find or achieve on our own, only through Jesus Christ living in us can we experience true joy. That is something very special and I am thankful each and every day that I have a personal relationship with Him.

Thank you for visiting Right Truth and reading Mohammad in the Bible. The verses in Revelation have nothing to do with Mohammad, but one of my readers left those verses in his comment. I simply posted the Bible verses so those reading would know what they said. I did not agree with the comment.

Mohammad has nothing to do with the Bible, as the premise of my post and the article which it was based on. Perhaps I didn't do the best job of portraying that.

Come visit again, the door is always open.

I was simply responding to the commenter.

I asked Jeremy what he meant and presented him the choices. He meant that there's a general category of joy, which is taking delight in what's good, something that can happen despite some other bad going on, particularly if what's bad is not as severe as the level of good of the good thing you're delighting in. Christian joy is a species of this general category of joy, and it's ultimately the highest of all joys, because it's exhilaration in the highest of all goods. You can't have the highest joy if you're not enjoying the things of God, but that doesn't mean that it's inappropriate to use the word to describe something anyone else can have. So how I worded it in the post was accurate.

While musing on the subject of 'Joy' could it be that it has a close connection with peace, in that, peace is not the absence of conflict,peace is the ability to cope? Hence Jn.14:27

Peace is clearly not the absence of conflict in Hebrew thought. I wouldn't say it's just the ability to cope, though. It seems to be more connected with wholeness, wholesomeness, and unity. Peace with God is being a good relationship with God.

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