Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joy is not Circumstantial

We would like to think there are other reasons for people losing their joy. One of the reasons we would like to think that people lose their joy is temptation. “Boy, if you went through the temptation I went through, you would not have joy either.” But the Scripture says: Count it all joy when you fall into divers (many different kinds of) temptations (James 1:2 KJV). Temptations are no reason to lose your joy.

You say, “Well, if you were persecuted like I am persecuted, you would lose your joy.” What does the Bible say about that?

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness ‘sake” (Matthew 4:10 NKJV).

You say, “But I just lost my mother.” And the scripture says,

Do not sorrow, as others who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NKJV).

The scripture also says,

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4 NKJV).

The normal Christian life is a life of joy. The reasons we lose joy, we think are circumstantial. “If you were in these circumstances, you would lose your joy.” I’m not saying there aren’t pleasant circumstances and unpleasant circumstances, but when people think that circumstances or environment are a reason for joy, it is not true.

People say, “If I were in Sun Valley skiing I would be happy,” or

“If I were married, I’d be happy,” or

“If I were divorced, I would be happy.”

They are saying their happiness is dependent upon circumstances, good circumstances—happiness, bad circumstances—unhappiness. People, who are environmentally happy and think that that is the joy of the Lord, are mistaken. There is the one biblical reason why the joy of the Lord is taken away.

It is stated in Hebrews 12:11,

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (NKJV)

(An excerpt from How to Maintain Joy in your Life, p.3)


Zach said...

I just happened across your blog when I was googling "circumstantial Christianity."

I'm a 24 year old believer in Jesus Christ and I definitely believe the Lord has been disciplining me as of late. I believe He is answering my prayer and wanting to bring me to the point where He truly is the only need in my life and where He truly is my greatest joy-and that I would TRULY LOVE Him and that I would know that He TRULY LOVES me. I know that is the end goal, but it just hard to remember that at times...

Thank you for your example in the faith. I really hope I will see a harvest in the knowledge of God the longer I am on this earth-that I somehow would be able to say like Paul "to live is Christ and to die is gain," and that there isn't anything or anyone that can compare with the love of God. It gives hope to see someone in their 80's living this out.

And on a side note-its really cool to see someone in their 80's who has a blog.

I really don't write on blogs and don't have a blog of my own, but I just felt compelled to write on your's.

Your brother in the faith,


James I Wilson said...

It is really cool that Jim still blogs. As Jim would say, coolness is defined by love not by the sweater vest and tie he still dons daily.

As a follow up on circumstantial joy, Psalm 32 teaches that the ONLY thing that stand between us and JOY is unconfessed sin. We know it can't be sin alone, because all our sins have been "nailed to the cross." The problem is unconfessed sin.

We don't want to agree with God about our sin (1 John 1:9) and receive the cleansing that is promised. If or when we do, we are promised Joy....Joy that is our strength.

Another way to look at it is that Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. If I'm full of Joy, I likely am full of the Spirit. If I'm full of the Spirit then I have the power to be obedient joyfully that Paul talks about in Colossians 1:29 that was working in him.