Journey to Authentic Joy
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This book is NOT a cookie-cutter Christian guide to living. This book is definitely NOT a cookie-cutter secular guide to living. I find this book, just as life, to be soberly challenging, though soberly liberating and joyful. It will challenge you to ask yourself questions that you have not asked in a long time or, perhaps, ever. This book is not written from the perspective of claiming perfection by simply being whoever we are and want to be. This book is written to inspire people to live an authentic life guided by Christ alone, guided by someone who continues on the journey as you do. If you are looking for a book that tells you that the key to authentic joy is satisfying yourself in every moment of your life, then you have picked up the wrong book. I would agree with most recent authors who write about authenticity when they say that authenticity stems from being genuine. However, the difference in this book is that it professes that actual authentic joy comes from being genuinely obedient to a power higher than ourselves: God. I would argue that authenticity in itself does not always result in joy and obedience without one’s own heart genuinely being behind the obedience to God does not result in joy. However, when you have genuine obedience and when your heart is tied to God that is the key to having authentic joy. This is not referring to independent authenticity. Independent authenticity is very popular, yet unrealistic to sustain because we live in a world that is interdependent. We are dependent on our family. We are dependent on our friends to fulfill what we want them to fulfill in our lives. We are dependent on our work relationships and are becoming even more dependent globally. Or shall I say, we are becoming more aware of how globally dependent we are. Most importantly, we are dependent on God. So independent authenticity, I would argue, is a misnomer. The argument that independent authenticity leads to joy is a misnomer for 99 percent of the people. It may lead to moments of happiness, but sustained authentic joy, it is not. Authentic obedience is not obedience alone and is not authenticity alone, but it is the combination of authenticity and obedience that leads to joy. This book is a book about redemption, the everlasting ability of God to redeem us. These essays reflect our forever journey on this earth by seeing our lives through God’s eyes, the most important reflection of all. Definition of Authentic Joy: Joy: A state of intense, great happiness that no man can take away because it is a state of happiness from God and a spiritual relationship with Him (see John 16:22). Obedience: To do what God has told us to do. Authentic: Being real, genuine and true. Authentic Joy: Joy that is real and long-lasting, one that is based on a real relationship and love for Christ that naturally leads to the desire for, and ultimate obedience to Christ. A joy that comes from knowing and expecting that you are exactly where you are supposed to be because of your love and obedience to Christ, and knowing that your fate is one that is good and blessed because you are aligned with God. Authentic joy is not a 1 or 100 thing. It is a 1 to 100 thing. As our Relationship with Christ grows, our Love for Christ grows, our Obedience to Christ grows, and our Joy grows. AUTHENTIC JOY MODEL: Our relationship with Christ is the constant that has to be maintained in order to receive abundant joy. Whenever that constant is removed, the formula is disrupted in a radical way, and joy is decreased. Ritualistic obedience without a continued relationship with Christ will not maintain our joy. Once we receive peace in our obedience to Christ, we must maintain a relationship with our savior in order to experience ultimate joy. In order to maintain that joy in our hearts, Christ must remain our primary relationship.