Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Steps

Step Four (to finding Joy in your life):
"Unplug for a week.  The Scriptures record many instances of people fasting from food, Jesus among them.  I suspect that were he bodily with us today, Jesus might also talk about fasting of a different sort.  Instead of an empty refrigerator, this fast would involve an unplugged home entertainment center...  The worst part about TV is not what it puts into our mind so much as what it prevents us from doing.  Watching television kills intimacy and conversation and disrupts sustained thought...  So try something radical.  Engage in the spiritual discipline of unplugging for a week.  Commit to a one-week, cold-turkey, television fast... Ask for God's help in declaring a "Week of Jubilee."  Use the freed-up time to do things you have needed or have been planning to do.  Get more sleep.  Read something.  Have a really good conversation."

And Step Five:
"Discipline your mind to view life from a Biblical perspective.  To a large extent, joy flows from a certain kind of thinking.  Cognitive psychologists remind us that always between the events that happen to us and our responses to them lie our beliefs or interpretations of those events.  This thought helps us to understand the irrepressible theme of joy in the New Testament.  The New Testament writers were engaged not so much in some form of positive thinking as in what might be called "eschatological thinking."  That is, they viewed all events in light of the Resurrection and the ultimate triumph of the risen Christ...  It takes a certain kind of heroism to continue to celebrate what deserves to be celebrated even when all the details go disastrously wrong.

"[Even] the apostle John said:
'He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more.'

"Then will dawn that great [Zippety] Dee Dah Day that will never end."

Are you able to seek joy in new ways?  Would you be willing to turn off the TV for a week - and see where it leads?
Are you able to look at life from a God-filled perspective?  A view of life where God is with you in every situation, beside you and loving you - through every joy and hurt?

Both of these ideas take work, strength, and determination...  But with prayer, and leaning on God, they are totally do-able.  Give it a try!  Joy is waiting...

**All quotes in italics are from John Ortberg's book, "The Life You've Always Wanted"

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