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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

We must always keep in mind that all Satan can do to attract us is plagiarize the joys God created for us in this world to foreshadow the joys of heaven. All the authentic pleasures of the world are in some ways sacramental, whereas all the counterfeit pleasures of this world are in some way sacrilegious. This is where the battle is fought: between sacraments and their counterfeits, between icons and idols, between signs and anti-signs. One foreshadows an eternity of fulfillment and communion, the other an eternity of emptiness and alienation.

+ Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained, 355.

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We must always keep in mind that all Satan can do to attract us is plagiarize the joys God created for us in this world to foreshadow the joys of heaven. All the authentic pleasures of the world are in some ways sacramental, whereas all the counterfeit pleasures of this world are in some way sacrilegious. This is where the battle is fought: between sacraments and their counterfeits, between icons and idols, between signs and anti-signs. One foreshadows an eternity of fulfillment and communion, the other an eternity of emptiness and alienation.

+ Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained, 355.

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A WORD FOR THE DAY

The young girl will dance for joy, young men and old men too.

“I will turn their weeping into gladness”, says the Lord, “I will comfort them and give them joy after sorrow.”

—Jeremiah 31:13

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And today, another question:

What Are You Thirsty For?

C.S. Lewis offers the following observation about our deepest desire:

“I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished from both Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. … I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. BUT THEN JOY IS NEVER IN OUR POWER AND PLEASURE OFTEN IS.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Surprised by Joy,” p.18.

Here, then, is the addict’s dilemma: Do I seek that which brings me Joy/Healing, but which I cannot possess or control, or do I seek the continual short-term solution of my addiction which, seemingly, I can possess or control?

This dilemma is also illustrated in the Gospel of John:

In the fourth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus is traveling through Samaria (a region reviled by Jews) and stops to rest at a well. It is the middle of the day, the sun is hot, and no respectable person would come to the well at this time of day. So it is that a woman who has had five husbands and who is living with a man to whom she is not married comes to the well. She comes in the heat of the day so that she will not be seen.

Jesus, upon seeing her, asks for a drink. She responds that she is a Samaritan and that a Jew would not ask a Samaritan for a drink.

Jesus then states: If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Jesus offers the Samaritan an alternative to her sinful and addictive ways: drink the living water.

What does this mean?

Addicts return to their addiction time and time again because of a thirst, a yearning for healing. Addicts continue to go to the same well, the well of addiction, for short-term relief that will not, ultimately, bring them healing. Jesus (or the addict’s “Higher Power”) offers living water–a source of healing that will last.

But will the addict accept living water (which he cannot control or possess) and stop going back to the well of addiction.

Well, addict, what are you thirsty for?

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We must always keep in mind that all Satan can do to attract us is plagiarize the joys God created for us in this world to foreshadow the joys of heaven. All the authentic pleasures of the world are in some ways sacramental, whereas all the counterfeit pleasures of this world are in some way sacrilegious. This is where the battle is fought: between sacraments and their counterfeits, between icons and idols, between signs and anti-signs. One foreshadows an eternity of fulfillment and communion, the other an eternity of emptiness and alienation.

+ Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained, 355.

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HAIL TO THE SALT BRIGADE!

We had an abbreviated meeting of the SALT Brigade today. With one member out-of-town, there were only two of us left to meet. So it was more like an extended check-in than a SALT Meeting.

Still, the meeting was very valuable to me.

The two SALT Brothers who did meet today have had similar experiences over the past week. It was a tough week. Especially Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We both experienced bad slips or relapses. We both had the experience of being in a place where the light is gone and there seems no hope for escaping the cycle of sexual sin. And, fortunately, we both have seen the dawn during the remainder of the week.

It has been a week where we have been fighting the battle of pleasure versus joy. Giving into the lust for pleasure with an immediate and intense – but also shallow and empty – payoff. We have drifted into isolation and a sense of being incomplete.

The choice we want to make is for joy – Oh, Lord, bring back to us the joy of our salvation! We want a joy that lasts and brings a sense of connectedness, rightness, and wholeness. We want the joy that can be shared and that makes us feel stronger. We choose surrender to Christ.

Pray for us!

S-A-L-T: Standing Against Lust Together

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It’s been a while … so let’s do a check-in.

FEELINGS:

Today (and this week) I have been up and down with feelings. I feel more on the hopeful, grateful, joyful side today, but much of this week has been dominated by feelings of shame, frustration, confusion, and anxiety.

ISSUES:

The issues facing me most squarely are surrender and discipline. And even these issue can themselves casue anxiety – surrender asks that I do more to let go while discipline asks that I step-up and take more responsibility for my actions. Ow can it be both?

NEEDS:

Obedience. I think the answer to my issues is resolved by obedience. I DO need to surrender and I DO need to be disciplined. I can do both of these things through obedience to Christ and to God’s Word.

SOBRIETY:

It has not been a clean week for me, although I have been clean the past several days. I am trying hard to get my eyes back under control. As I have experienced slips with lust, pornography, and masturbation, I have also allowed my eyes free rein. I have looked at whatever my lust wanted me to look at. This all becomes a cycle which spirals downward – the more I act out the more I look at women, the more I look at women the more I act out, and so on.

Three lessons have come to me this week that have helped me the past two days:

1)      I yearn for a return of the JOY of my salvation (Psalm 51)

2)      True joy is in contrast to counterfeit pleasure – I may think I want the pleasure, but I always feel emptiness afterwords, whereas when I am choosing the good, joy brings a sense of connection and fulfillment.

3)      My body is not my own – it was bought/redeemed by Christ (1 Cor. 6).  Therefore I do not have the right to look at women lustfully or use my body in that way.  It has been surrendered to Christ as a temple for the Holy Spirit.

I cannot explain exactly how these three things go together, but adding them all together has helped me return to eye bouncing as an act of obedience.  And I have found liberation in obedience – I am free to enjoy my salvation!!!

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