Discuss: Finding Joy in an Uncertain World

RZIM Asia-Pacific Regional Director Max Jeganathan suggests that truth is indispensable, suffering is unavoidable, and happiness is not enough, and breaks down what Christianity says about all three.

The problem we have is that we have taken [noble aspirations of tolerance], and taken them a bit too far, to the point where we think, just because all people are made equally, and all people are equally valuable and worthwhile, that all truth claims are equally valuable and worthwhile, which is simply not the case.

If you follow the evidence with an open heart and an open mind, it will lead you to the person of Jesus Christ.

Faith is entirely reasonable; it’s entirely evidence-based; it’s entirely coherent. If it’s not, then it’s not true. And the best reason to be a Christian is because it’s true. There’s lots of other good reasons as well, but the first and best reason is because it’s true.

When we look for truth with an open heart and an open mind, when we ask our questions, we always end up face-to-face with the person of Jesus Christ, and then we discover something incredible: that truth is not actually a set of propositions or things to believe in, but truth is first and foremost a person.

When you look at all of the other alleged gods that humankind has invented, and then you look at the person of Jesus, He’s the only God with scars.

When you look in the Christian scriptures, in the Bible, in the message that God gives us through the offer of relationship with His Son, we see something incredible and mind-blowing…we see that happiness and Christian joy are not quantitatively different; they’re qualitatively different.

Christian joy holds strong because it’s based on spiritual realities, not on natural physical realities. Natural and physical realities are always changing; spiritual realities through the person of Jesus are unchanging, so Christian joy holds strong.

Make it Personal

  • “Truth is primarily personal and relational, not propositional” - How does this challenge the assumptions of the culture around us? How is this good news for the people around us?

  • Do you find the suffering helps to point you to joy in Christ?

  • Are you setting your standard of joy too low? Are you settling for the luggage carousel instead of Disneyland?

  • How can we share the difference of Christian joy from mere happiness with the world around us?

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I love the distinction highlighted between joy and happiness here. It’s something I’ve been wondering about recently. I always feel that the concept of happiness always seems to be missing something. The description that happiness is based on physical realities helps me to understand why my idea of happiness lacks something solid and concrete. It’s because our physical realities are always in flux. I think from a cultural view point, society seeks accumulation of physical wealth and experiences because we think it’ll increase happiness. I like the C.S Lewis quote:

“I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy”.

Happiness depends on good things happening. Joy happens despite good or bad circumstances, if we are focused on Jesus.

This is true joy. We can ask questions in the midst of suffering and pain, and if open, will always find Jesus. This doesn’t happen in the cultural pursuit of happiness. It’s when all attempts of happiness have failed that we can experience true joy in our pursuit of the truth of Christ.

I think this is the sort of thing we can share with anyone. At some point everyone has to start asking questions. Some do it readily, others try to ignore the burning questions for as long as they can. Either way, questions simmer. I think that encouraging people to realise this is a good thing, and a healthy thing to do, is the first stage. We can help them work out what their questions might be or we can listen to them as they share their well thought through questions. We don’t have to give answers necessarily. We know that if we encourage them to face whatever answers come with an open heart, they may likely come face to face with Jesus along the way.

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