WHAT IS REAL JOY?
By Ernest O'Neill
What is Real Joy?
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
Loved ones, there is a dear person who has told us what that attitude is. There is a dear person who knows the way things are going to turn out and He has told us what attitude we should adopt day-by-day. And if we could speak to Bill Wallace, Roger, Gus Young, and our old grandparents or parents who are now in the immediate presence of God and we could ask them too, "Look, in the light of what you see, (you can see everything now, you can understand it all, you know what's going to happen in the midst of the whole international mess, you know what's going to happen in our own personal lives, you know what's going to happen to our families), what attitude do you think we should have when we get up in the morning and when we go to bed at night?" And they're all going to answer the same thing: "Joy!" That's it.
Joy! You should be happy. You should be delighted. You should be filled with joy. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking what I thought when I read this verse that we're studying. I thought wait a minute, there are some times you have joy at a wedding or when you get a new car or when you are on a fishing trip or when vacation is just around the corner. Sure, there are times when joy is appropriate. I can see that. There are times when I do feel joy. But, there are hundreds of times where anxiety, worry, and depression are the only right attitude.
Loved ones, our Creator's word to us on this matter is so categorical, so absolute and so dogmatic that I'd like you to look at it for yourselves. It's expressed in another verse other than the one we're studying. It’s in Philippians 4:4.
Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always." We have a tendency to say, "No, it's impossible, sometimes, but not always." Then you read the next line, "Again I will say, rejoice.", and we tend to say, "No, there are things that happen in this world, there are apprehensions I have about the future, there are uncertainties, there are tragedies that often fill us with worry and anxiety."
Philippians 4:6, "Have no anxiety about anything". Now, I think we Irish, (if you read James Joyce and the rest of our pitiful countrymen), are as good at crying in our beer as any of you Americans are and so I am as skeptical about this as any of you. But loved ones, it is straight and clear from God's heart.
Do you remember Rich Little's impressions of political figures? I can't even imitate Irish people so I can't imitate American people but he did the one you remember, of Hubert Humphrey. He would put on Hubert Humphrey's voice. They were always making fun of Hubert Humphrey's optimism, his boundless bounce, and happiness. So he had this particular line -- he said Hubert would get up in the morning and would look around at Muriel, his wife, and would say, "Whoopee!" And dear love Hubert Humphrey, you can believe that that's what he would do whether you agree with him politically or not. You can believe that's what he would do.
Strange, though it is, that's exactly what our Creator says we should do. This dear Father of ours that has seen more pain and agony than any of us will ever see, this dear Father of ours that has seen His Son painted as a man of sorrow, dying and bleeding to death on the Cross, this dear Father of ours that sees every baby in Bombay that is going to die today, that sees every prostitute in New York that is going to commit fornication today. This dear Father that sees the millions of Armenians as well as the Jews that were destroyed, this dear Father that sees the little mother crying over her baby in India at this moment, this dear Father still says, "Rejoice, be happy. Again, I will say rejoice."
Loved ones, it's a command. It's not advice. God says, "Rejoice, and again I will say rejoice". That's a command. Loving God is not an option. It's a command, "Thou shall love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and soul and strength and mind." It's not an option, it's a command. Loving your neighbor is not an option, it's a command, "Love your neighbor as yourself".