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Thursday October 13

Judges 21:5

25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

In the Book of Judges, God’s people went from leader to leader who would guide them in God’s ways. If the leaders were godly, the people would prosper. If the leaders were questionable, there would be fallout. But the worst times were when there was no on at all to lead. The people just did whatever they wanted without any guidelines for healthy living.

For those raised in a mixed-joy or low-joy environment, this becomes a great problem. Emotions will rule and we won’t even see this coming. This happens most often in two ways.

First, a key challenge for those of us who spent time in low-joy environments as an infant is we don’t have the capacity to return to joy quickly after we are upset. So usually what happens is we spend all of our time working hard to keep things from going wrong. This is how we become overly controlling type people. This is how we overreact over minor things. When we are over-controlling, there are no minor problems. Everything that goes wrong is a major thing.

The other negative challenge for those of us who spent time in low-joy environments as infants has to do with addiction. When we grow older, if we haven’t received this joyful and loving bonding as infants, we are always searching for someone or something to make us feel better. In our culture this most often means drugs and alcohol, sex, power, or money. This can expose itself as an addiction to affirmation and people “liking” us, or it may be the opposite and we try to get people to be afraid of us or stay away from us, or it may be an addiction for achieving accolades and being considered highly successful. In other words, if we look around us, what we might call normal society is filled with low-joy fallout. This is not God’s plan, it is sin. It is malfunction.

Here’s the choice. For most of us, we have issues with these negative challenges. We can either spend our whole lives trying to avoid anything go wrong or we can spend our time trying to please people or have people fear us, or use people or substances for temporary pleasure.

Not very healthy choices. Or, we can be trained under the power of Jesus and have our brains rewired to be able to return to joy quickly after upset.

ME

Think of key problems we have in our society. What does joy have to do with it?

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