Published on March 18, 2014
THE CHRISTIAN SELF SERIES Part IV: Joy
―Until he is dead, do not yet call a man happy, but only lucky.‖ -Solon, according to Herodotus, Book I, Chapter 32
GREEK WORDS ―Eudaimonia‖ – ―happiness‖ ―Kevo‖ or ―Chara‖ – ―joy, gladness, or the cause or occasion of joy‖ (from ―charis‖—‖grace‖) ―Agalliasis‖ – exuberant joy or exultation‖ Note that ―chara‖ can be used either for the emotion of joy or its source.
HEBREW WORDS ―Simchah‖ – ―joy, gladness, pleasure or delight‖ ―Gil‖ – ―gladness, delight, jubilance, or a revolution of time or ‗an age‘‖ ―Masos‖ and ―sason‖ – ―to spring, to exult, to rejoice‖ ―Rinnah‖ – ―shouting or joy‖ Note here that the emotion of joy and the outward expression of joy (in jumping and shouting) are sometimes contained by the same word.
WHY LINGUISTICS? (1) Language is the primary means through which we create meaning; changes in the use of words often reveal changes in meaning over time. See George Orwell‘s 1984 or China Miéville‘s Embassytown. (2) The Word (Logos) is how God creates and communicates to us. (3) Because of issues of writing and translation, we must understand linguistics as part of the solution to (certain) ambiguities in the text of the Bible.
EXAMPLES OF CHANGES IN MEANING ―Artificial‖ – full of artifice (technical skill or craftsmanship) ―Awful‖ – that which instills (positive) awe or wonder ―Prove‖ – to test ―Tell‖ – ―to count‖
NEW WORDS IN 2013 ―Clunker‖ ―Defriend‖ ―Flash Mob‖
―HAPPINESS‖ (1) The quality or state of being happy (2) Good fortune, pleasure, contentment, joy Where ―Happy‖ is: (1) delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing (2) characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy (3) favored by fortune, fortunate, or lucky (4) apt or felicitous, as actions, utterances, or ideas (5) obsessed by or quick to use the term indicated (i.e. ―trigger-happy‖)
―JOY‖ (1) The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying, keen pleasure; elation (2) A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight, something or someone greatly valued or appreciated (3) The expression of good feeling (4) A state of happiness or felicity
II. SCRIPTURE Statements and scripture references from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia of 1915
THE OLD TESTAMENT Joy: (1) is the response of the mind to any pleasurable event or state (1 Ki 1:40; Est 8:17) (2) is the natural outcome of fellowship with God (Ps 16:11) ―In thy presence is the fullness of joy; in thy hand there are pleasures forevermore.‖ (3) has God as its source (Ps 4:7, 51:12) (4) and as its object (Ps 35:9; Isa 29:19) (5) is called forth by the aspects of God‘s character: (a) His lovingkindness (Ps 21:6, 7; 31:7) (b) His salvation (Ps 21:1; Isa 25:9; Hab 3:18) (c) His law and statutes (Ps 12) (d) His judgments (Ps 48:11) (e) His words of comfort in dark days (Jer 15:15, 16) (f) His sovereignty and the equity of His government and the sense of security those bring (Ps. 93:1; 96:10; 97:1) (6) is joined in by Nature (Ps. 96:11-13; 98:4-9) (7) We also see that God Himself rejoices in His works (Ps. 104:31; Gen 1:31) and rejoices over His people (Dt. 30:9)
THE NEW TESTAMENT Joy: (1) is the appropriate response of the believer to the ―good tidings of great joy‖ of the Gospels (Lk 2:10) (2) is exemplified by the life and character of Christ: (a) He does not have the disciples fast, for ―they are with the bridegroom‖ (Mk 2:18-20) (b) He comes ―eating and drinking‖ (Mt 11:19) (c) He rejoices in the Holy Spirit (Lk 10:21) (d) His presence is desired at festivities (Mk 14:3; Lk 14:1; Jn 12:1) and the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1) (e) He discusses His joy (Jn 15:11; 17:13) (3) is revealed in the Beatitudes (Mt. 5:3-11) (4) is in contrast to the ―sad countenance‖ of the hypocrites (Mt 6:16) (5) is revealed in the parables (a) The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl (Mt. 13:44-46) (b) The Lost Sheep (Lk 15:5-7) (c) The Bags of Gold/The Talents (Mt. 25:21, 23) (6) comes from submission to Christ (Jn 14:27; 16:33; 15:11; 16:24; 17:13) (7) is in contrast to the transient sorrow of the world (Jn 16:22) (8) is investigated by the Pauline Epistles (a) is a Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) (b) an essential characteristic of the Kingdom of Heaven (Rom 14:17) (c) Associated with Faith (Phil 1:25), Hope (Rom 5:2), and Fellowship (Rom 12:15; 2 Cor 7:13; Phil 2:1) (9) Is the triumph of faith over adversity (Acts 5:41, Rom 5:3, James 1:2; 12; 5:11; 1 Pet 4:13)
JOY VS. HAPPINESS: ECCLESIASTES AND JOB
JOY IS: • The knowledge that God is all-powerful and that He has created with purpose and for good. • The Source and Object of Joy. • That God‘s good creation is meant to be eternal, and that we are called to participate in the good and beauty of creation forever. This fills us with a sense of contentment, passion, and excitement unmatched by fleeting things. • Joy is an emotion. • Joy is participation in the Kingdom of Heaven. • Joy is a state of being. • This emotion calls us to happily live our lives in connectedness to God and Creation in a way that celebrates these truths and reveals them to others. • Joy is a response to a state of being and to an emotion.
SO, JOY IS ALSO: • Eternal, invasive and pervasive • It supersedes situation and circumstance • It is dynamic and active • It is relational and connective
HOW DO WE ACHIEVE JOY? • Knowing is not feeling. • The process of sanctification—to align existential meaning with God‘s essential meanings.
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