Joy is Serious Business
C.S. Lewis, in his book Letters to Malcolm, said, "Joy is the serious business of heaven." He is right. We're here on God's green earth, and we Christians have been bamboozled by the devil into losing joy because the world has perverted our sources of pleasure. Case in point, the corruption of Hollywood. We act like God designed us to find happiness on a TV. We're upset because of the depths of depravity of the entertainment industry. It has become so corrupt that if we're attempting any kind of walk with God at all, we know we cannot watch it. So what do we do? We pout.
What's happened? Why the boredom now? We're bored because we can't watch TV? What's wrong with us? We've rewired our minds to adapt ourselves to getting joy from a box with pictures in it. Turn off the TV. Walk outside. Hear the birds singing, the rain falling (or the sun shining), the brooks flowing. Watch children play, dogs frolic, and take in the fresh air. Enjoy the things of God.
Joy is God's creation. It is His attribute, and He created us in His image to enjoy Him and His creation. Listen to what Paul told Timothy,
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
God is the Creator of joy, not Satan. Joy is serious business. It was Satan who convinced our first parents that pleasure could be gotten outside of the will of God.
The foolish woman in Proverbs 9:17 makes this remarkable statement that has duped generations:
17 Stolen waters are sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
This is the epitome of Satan's tactics. So let's break this verse down. Stolen waters are sweet. Sweet waters are freshwater. Taking the water without permission doesn't make it fresh. It was fresh before it was stolen. It could be enjoyed lawfully without stealing it. Bread eaten in secret is pleasant. This "secret bread" is also stolen. The fact that it is stolen doesn't make it pleasant. It was pleasant before it was stolen. Satan can only pervert what God has created. What God has created is already enjoyable. When obtained lawfully, it is enjoyed without sorrow.
22 The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, And he addeth no sorrow with it.
Sin ALWAYS has sorrow attached to it. No matter how much we might be enjoying our sin at the time, it will always sting the conscience and still result in punishment.
C.S. Lewis continued, "But aren't there bad, unlawful pleasures? Certainly there are. But in calling them "bad pleasures" I take it we are using a kind of shorthand. We mean "pleasures snatched by unlawful acts." It is the stealing of the apple that is bad, not the sweetness. The sweetness is still a beam from the glory. That does not palliate the stealing. It makes it worse. There is sacrilege in the theft. We have abused a holy thing."
We mustn't forget who is the actual robber of joy. The world thinks God is a 'killjoy,' but actually, their god is.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
There is no joy like a clear conscience. There is no joy, like being in the center of God's will. There is no joy, like being filled with the Spirit of God. There is no joy, like leading others to find Christ. There is no joy like knowing God is coming back to set all wrongs right and to rule this earth in righteousness. There is no joy like knowing that the devil is going to be locked away, so he no longer has access to God's creation to steal, kill, and destroy.
Randy Alcorn, quotes George Whitefield in his book Happiness,
Evangelist George Whitefield (1714–1770) said, "Is it the end of religion to make men happy, and is it not every one's privilege to be as happy as he can?" Whitefield asked an audience, "Does Jesus want your heart only for the same end as the devil does, to make you miserable? No, he only wants you to believe on him, that you might be saved. This, this, is all the dear Savior desires, to make you happy, that you may leave your sins, to sit down eternally with him." 1
1 Alcorn, Randy. Happiness. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2015. Print.
Can you believe that the old preachers of our past really found joy in Christ above all else and were thus enabled to find joy in all things wholesome and good? Stop finding joy in evil and perversion! There is no end in good pleasure, but there is the termination of the pleasure derived from sin.
Isn't this what our Savior was intimating when He made the statement, "There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth?" Our Savior, of course, was referring to a sinner turning from sin and turning to Him. But isn't Jesus Joy Incarnate? He is the Word Incarnate. He is Life Incarnate. He is Truth Incarnate. He is God Incarnate. Why can't He be Joy Incarnate? Romans 5:11 says, "we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ," so is it far-fetched to believe that Jesus is the fountainhead of joy? Our repentance may lead us through a valley of sorrow, but it ultimately leads us to a mountain of everlasting pleasure.