Weekly Thought – September 17, 2013
Fred published You and Your Network in 1984 at age 69. He refused many earlier offers to capture his thoughts. His friend Jarrell McCracken, then President/Founder of Word Publishing, corralled him and this great little book came to life. Nearly 30 years later people refer to it and benefit from its wisdom.
How grateful everyone at BWF and BWFLI is for your prayerful encouragement and support. Your emails, your calls, your financial contributions all contribute to the joy in the journey we experience.
Joy for the Journey
When I speak of “joy for the journey” I am not talking about surface happiness which comes and goes like the wind. I like to think happiness is a bubbling brook and joy is a deep aquifer. It is the profound sense of adequacy grounded in the sufficiency of Christ. Joy is more than fortuitous circumstances. Joy is necessary when life is out of joint.
Oftentimes I hear people speak of the secrets of joy. There is no such thing. I flinch when I hear them describe joy as something to be found like Easter eggs or uncovered by joining esoteric cults.
Joy is a result. It is the reward of a life well spent in hope. It results from principles of maturity that the wise, the saintly, and the serving find and follow. Joy is available to any healthy, normal personality. Certainly, there are certain mental conditions which preclude the experience of joy. But ordinarily, it is available to all.
Having once known joy, I am convinced we can control our emotions to allow a joyful attitude even in difficult times. I like to think of joy as having found a comfortable and permanent home in me. Scripture warns us against letting anything “steal our joy.” It is a prize worth striving to protect.
Recently, a friend called to say, “Fred, I feel a total lack of joy in my life. I feel empty – nothing seems worth it to me anymore.” He assumed a passive role in life – he gave over any active engagement and let his emotional state rule. Circumstances overwhelmed him and events controlled his attitude. He was truly the man blown about by every wind.
He was absorbing the pessimism of his environment. These people are known as thermometers, not thermostats because they reflect the temperature, not set it. Joy is a choice; joy is an act of self-control and discipline. That may sound contrary to the popular definition of joy as bubbling over and spontaneous. But true joy is not random, but purposeful. True joy connects to the deepest part of our being.
Choose joy for it is adequacy for life. With it we become survivors in a hostile world. Joy makes the journey a profitable pleasure – a trip with meaning.
This week think about: 1) How are current circumstances affecting my joy? 2) Who influences my environment? 3) What gives me joy?
Words of Wisdom: “True joy is not random, but purposeful.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The Lord’s precepts are fair and make one joyful. The Lord’s commands are pure and give insight for life.” (Psalm 19:8 NET Bible)