How Can We Turn Duty Into Joy?

How Can We Turn Duty Into Joy?

While there is a lot of "duty" in most of our lives that is felt in the form of following rules and heavy responsibility, all of them carry the opportunity to bring us nothing but joy... but only when we have the right perspective

Tags: duty, joy


There is a relationship between between duty and joy that I'd like to explore with you today. More substantially, I'd like to empower you to find more joy than duty, or rather, find joy IN duty.

If we are honest with ourselves, life is full of duty and responsibility. So how can we turn all that duty into joy? As usual, the answers are found in the Bible.

The Starting Point For Us


Duty is the starting point for most of us.

There are lots of rules to follow in life. There are lots of responsibilities in life.

In fact, many non-Christians believe that Christianity is nothing but a package of rules that they simply do not want to ever follow. Their aversion from ever cracking the Bible is their perception it is nothing more than a very large rule book.

Of course, those of us who take the time to benefit from the riches available in the Bible cultivate a wisdom that leads us to understand why those "rules" exist. For example, the Bible instructs us to have no other idols before God. But why? The Bible knows the deep, deep destruction and ultimate dissatisfaction we will invite into our lives should we choose to elevate money, our job, our kids, etc to the main focus of our lives.

Just consider for a moment, how things and people truly do not deliver true happiness. I don't mean there aren't moments of happiness, but think of the following: - the new car gets old over time - the new house gets old over time - the new TV becomes less shiny over time - your spouse will hurt you, intentionally and unintentionally - your kids will hurt you

Furthermore, our unrighteous behaviors have consequences that we are truly unable to see. Consider the following: - your kids' perception of you after 10 years of being divorced - your intimacy with your spouse after a history of promiscuity - your view of your new baby 10 years after your abortion - your health status 10 years after you conquered your illicit drug abuse - your ability to get promoted after a habit of gossip outside of the office

Simply put, there ARE rules in the Bible. It is the purpose for those rules that so many of us miss.

Rather than that purpose being restrictive, it is much more focused on leading us towards a rich life, with blessings beyond what we could ever imagine.

The Bible gives us a clear picture of the destruction that comes out of adultery, hate, gossip, etc and thus, suggests a righteous life lived in its place.

The Ending Point For Us


Joy is the ending point for us. Joy is a much more pleasant promise, right? Most of us would invite more joy into our lives. However, many of us struggle to attain deep-rooted joy in our daily experience.

The Bible promises us joy in living righteously. Most of this promise is centered around what we discussed above. Specifically, finding and applying the characteristics of living righteously will automatically lead us towards a joy-filled life.

The Challenge


So what is the problem?

The truth is that for any of us with an addiction or habit that is a misplaced priority, we WILL have difficulty being joyful in saying no. Why is that? If we analyze addition, we will find that most of them give us some sort of immediate gratification. In other words, in the moment we fulfill our vice, the feeling of satisfaction floods our brain. This is a powerful trigger for repeat future behavior, and why so many of us get caught in cycles of addition to vices we'd rather bury.

Joy, however, works in the opposite direction. It is NOT and immediate promise. Rather, it is feeling that requires significant investment over time. The bad news is that because it is not immediately gratified, it takes a long time to develop. The good news is that once its foundation is built, there is little that can shake it out of your baseline perspectives.

However, when we choose righteousness, we choose God over money (or anything else), love over hate, monogamy over adultery, service over selfishness, etc. These things may sound sacrificial in some way, but rather lead us towards lives of tremendous fulfillment of relationship with God and others.

And that leads us to joy...

Converting Duty Into Joy


So how can we get there? To be honest, there will be aspects of life and your Christian faith that you will have to embrace as duty before they ever become joy.

Remember, the timeline is different for joy. Specifically, joy takes longer to develop and a disciplined habit is its foundation. You have to be willing to invest patiently in developing a joy-filled core attitude.

How can we do that?

We can start with duty!

Even though you may be programmed against the desires to live righteously in certain aspects of your life (e.g., greed, lust, hate), you have the opportunity to conquer them with duty to righteous behavior and attitudes. In so doing, you will develop a foundational joy that will never again be easily shaken or defeated.

I will close with a hypothetical example of how this can work out in your life.

Let's say that you have someone in your life with whom you had a falling out 5 years ago. Righteous living suggests you face that conflict and offer forgiveness (Ephesians 4:26; Matthew 18:20-22). After deep pain, you will not likely WANT to approach this individual and offer forgiveness. However, when you do so, you can imagine that you bring the opportunity for a deep friendship again. It will take time, but months later, you may find yourself back in deep friendship and fellowship with another child of God. You may find yourself being an example to your friend (and others) of what it looks like to live a righteous life prescribed by God's Word.

Conclusion


We have explored the relationship between duty and joy today. We have seen that there is truly a lot of duty in our lives. We have also discussed how duty can be an opportunity to put ourselves on the pathway towards joy. Thus, if we are serious about finding joy, we actually have to develop joy through a process of discipline and commitment.

I encourage you to embrace duty always as an opportunity to find joy in the near future. Joy is rare (if ever) immediate, but it will come through diligent duty.

Please share your stories of acting with duty and then ultimateley being rewarded with joy in the comments section below.

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