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tyranny of joy

The Tyranny of Joy

Fresh from the gate of my newborn pursuit of joy and I’m still wobbly on my feet, holding clinging to the Father’s hand as I lurch between momentary victories and backward tumbles of un-faith.

Clumsy. Ungraceful. Baby steps, you might say. (Proverbs 24:16)

Still, learning to rejoice has its rewards. And in the midst of my doddering progress, I am deeply impressed with the essential cost of the matter. I suppose that’s what makes joy so different from happiness. Happiness is easy, effortless. But joy? Joy is work. Joy is blood. It is sweat and tears wrung from a sometimes sorrowing heart. And joy is never, ever free. In fact, joy will cost you everything.

Just ask the chained apostle (2 Corinthians 8:2). Or James the half-brother of Christ (James 1:2-4). He’d say the same.

Or Jesus. Ask Him about the Garden when the blood fell like drops and the sweat and tears were mingled (Matthew 26:36-46). Ask His Word and He’ll tell you. Joy is wondrous because it frees the soul; it is costly because it demands all the soul in return.[1]

I suppose joy is tyrannical in its way.

And so, if you see me tottering in my pursuit of joy, know that my faith is clinging. Know that He holds me, and know that the grace that grips me is nail-scarred indeed (John 20:27-28).

[1] Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:3; 2 Cor. 12:10; Col. 1:11, 24; Heb. 10:34; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 4:13; Philippians 3:8; Matthew 16:24-26; Mark 10:21; 2 Corinthians 8:2

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