Saturday, August 21, 2010

Whether in Iniquity or Truth, Life Should Be About Rejoicing

As I contemplated further this week the idea in 1 Corinthians 13:6 that charity "rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth", I leaned toward writing about something that I will end up addressing next week. This week, instead, I want to emphasize a simple thought that struck me again today - that life is meant to be about rejoicing. Therefore, one of our central efforts should be to find something in life in which we can rejoice - ideally something that can be classified as "truth" and not "iniquity".

There are a few quotes that sprang to mind while I considered this, the first of which is obvious to any Mormon who reads this post.

First, 2 Nephi 2:25:

Adam fell that men might be, and men are, that they might have joy.

This is one of the clearest and most straightforward declarations regarding the **practical** purpose of mortality in all of canonized scripture. For this post, I don't want to get into a semantic discussion of the meaning of the word "joy". Rather, I simply want to reiterate that we are created to "have" joy.

I see a huge difference between "having" joy and "feeling" joy. I wrote almost exactly two years ago about this exact topic at least twice (Feelings vs. Actions and Pursuing Joy), and I don't want to revisit the entire concept in this post. Suffice it for now to stress that feeling something can be transitory, while having something implies internalization or ownership that lasts. Another way of phrasing "to have joy" might be "to be joyful continually" - and that is a worthy desire indeed.

Second, Doctrine & Covenants 93:36:

The glory of God is intelligence - or, in other words, light and truth.

Without going into great detail, intelligence is defined in this verse as being able to see clearly what "is". I wrote tangentially about this definition earlier this year (Spiritual Intelligence & Humility), but what I want to highlight here is that there is an important element of being able to see one's way ahead in the undertaking of a journey.

In Exodus 3:14, Moses is told by the Lord:

I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

If the eternal purpose of life is to walk a pathway back to the prescence of God (to be able to say "I AM" - see Romans 8:17 & 1 John 3:2) - to travel to His destination, if you will (see Revelations 3:21) - it is critical to strive to see that pathway as clearly as possible (even if, as Paul says, we still see through our glass, darkly).

Third, John 14:27-28 and 1 Corinthians 15:19:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

The foundation of the joy / rejoicing we seek in this life, if it is grounded in "truth" can be found in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - that he has gone unto the Father, that our hope in his illuminating and enabling journey is not in vain, that where he has gone we can follow. (see the full message of 1 Cointhians 13:12)

I believe that "rejoicing in truth" is elevated, if you will, by this hope, while "rejoicing in iniquity" is grounded by those things / ideas / philosophies / actions that keep such hope at bay. I will delve more deeply into specifics next week, but I felt that it was important to delineate the difference carefully in this post first.

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