Last week, we looked at JOY. We established that we all want joy, we all seek it. We examined benefits of JOY (at least some of them!) and we even saw that God commands it.
So what gives?
Why aren't we full of the JOY God promises?
We are going to look at some of those reasons.
And the first one is...our very own self.
What???? Of course we want to be happy! To be full of joy! Why in the world would I say that we are a reason for a lack thereof?
That makes no sense!
OR does it?
Let's look at John 5:5-9 for some insight...
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
This passage tells us of an encounter Jesus had with a lame man. A man who wanted to be healed.
Well, of course he did! He had not been able to walk for 38 years! Of course he wanted to be healed!
So why did Jesus ask the question? That should strike us as most curious....
I mean, doesn't Jesus know everything already? Why should He have to ask? And why that question? Isn't it obvious that this man wants to be able to walk?
Jesus does already know everything and He didn't need to ask this question to gain any information from this man. SO, why did He ask? And such an obvious question?
Not because He needed to know but because THE LAME MAN needed to know!
We get some insight into this man's view of himself in the verses that follow Jesus's question. He sees himself as a victim. A victim without a victor. A man who tries but fails continually. A man who is without hope of help. A man who places some blame for his plight on others...
Jesus knows that we can become so accustomed to our "handicap" that we can make it work for us. When we have a lack of joy, we can do exactly that. We can blame others, live in a state of hopelessness, and resign ourselves to failure. Permanently. Perpetually.
And because of that, Jesus knows that if we want to be healed, if we want to have joy, we have to participate in the process. We have to be willing to abandon our old way of walking and to walk a different way. Our healing - our path to joy - is contingent upon our own willingness. Our ability to be part of the process and give up our old ways, no matter how comfortable we feel in them. No matter how much we've been able to use them to our "advantage", even to manipulate situations to our own benefit.
So, the first thing we must do in our quest for joy is to examine ourselves. And realize that our own personal commitment to joy is necessary.