Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Make the Choice to Rejoice!

Is it possible to experience joy without gratitude? 

I am reading a book by Richard Paul Evans, called Miles to Go. It's part 2 of a 4-part series called "The Walk." The protagonist makes that statement in his journal. You see, his wife died, and his business partner stole all his clients while his wife was in the hospital, so he not only lost his wife, but his home, his business and his best friend (who was his business partner). He decides to walk from Seattle, WA to Key West, FL. The books are about his experiences and the people he meets (and helps) along the way. Evans states that he "writes with the hope of improving the world."  His books are very thought-provoking and enjoyable. He does not write from a biblical view, however...which is why I question that statement...

It is possible to experience joy without gratitude.

When I looked up the word, "joy" in the Hebrew and Greek, the word that kept coming up was cheerful. The Web definition is "a feeling of great pleasure and happiness." 

If I stop here, I could easily agree that we can experience joy without gratitude. It's simply a feeling that we choose and that makes us cheerful or happy.

But I'm not content to stop there, because my gut tells me that gratitude plays a big part in being joyful. Even Merriam Webster agrees by further defining joy as..." a source or cause of great happiness...something or someone that gives joy to someone...success in doing, finding or getting something."

Joy is a feeling, but it seems that it must have a source. So if we have a source of joy, wouldn't it make sense that we would also be grateful to that source? Otherwise, it's not pure joy. Maybe it's not a conscious choice, but it's still gratitude.

I will turn their mourning into gladness (joy); I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow...declares the Lord (Jer 31:13).

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8:10)

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing (joy) comes in the morning (Ps 30:5)

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52)

Romans 5:1-11 has so much to say about joy that it's too much to put in this blog. Read it yourself. But it ends with this: We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Rom 5:11).

Well...if that's not enough to convince you that joy comes from gratitude, I don't know what is. We rejoice because we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. I don't know about you, but I sure am grateful for that!

Is it possible to have joy without gratitude? Probably. But I question the extent of the joy in that case. To know true joy, I believe one must have gratitude. To experience exquisite joy, one must have Jesus! Choose Jesus and choose joy!

Blessings Along the Path,

Song/Video of the Day
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Celtic Woman) (I have no idea when these women take a breath!)

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