Commandment and Joy

I like to drive. And, whether I’m going to “happiness” or Ohio, it is helpful to know how to get there. So when I drive I obey the GPS, my wife. I listen to her instructions because she knows how to get where we’re going, I don’t, or if I do, I’ll forget.

Commandment has a similar relationship with joy. If we want to get somewhere, or something, i.e. happiness, we need to know how to get it. We are, so to speak, like a train; most free when “constrained” to the tracks. The tracks seem narrow. They seem restraining. But the only thing they restrain us from is destruction.

It is God who makes known to us the path to life. It is He that sets us on the road to fullness of joy. Not our inclinations.[1]

Often when we listen to our self, we say, “This is the way, I just feel it.” That, however, is much like my driving: Hopeless. I, we, need instruction. Remember this, Without instruction, destruction. 

God Your Word, not my own, is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I need Your commandments that I may live.


[1] “Sensuous pleasure—pleasures of the body—divorced from enjoying a well-ordered life is problematic… The happy life is grounded in the moral life” (Ellen Charry, “Christian Happiness”).

About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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