truthJeremy Lucarelli

Augustine-happy?

truthJeremy Lucarelli

One of the many benefits of pursuing a Master's of Divinity is the networking. I am not a networker, which I consider both a strength and a weakness. However, in the realm of all things theological I am learning the benefit of networking (I am not talking about hanging out with Chesterton or sippin one with Lewis at the Eagle and the Child in Oxford). The networking I speak of takes place anywhere there are dog-eared pages and the inevitable coffee stains on a repeatedly read page. This morning I networked with Augustine as I watched early morning sail boats drift by, after I hadn't slept a wink.

Consider what he says in Confessions:

The desire for happiness is not in myself alone or in a few friends, but is found in everybody. If we did not know this with certain knowledge, we would not want it with determination in our will. But what does this mean?

If two people are asked if they want to serve in the army, it may turn out that one of them replies that he would like to do so, while the other would not. But if they are asked whether they would like to be happy, each would at once say without the least hesitation that he would choose to be so. And the reason why one would wish to be a soldier and the other would not is only that they want to be happy. Is it then the case that one person finds joy in one way, another in a different way?

What all agree upon is that they want to be happy, just as they would concur, if asked, that they want to experience joy and would call that joy the happy life. If one person pursues it in one way, and another in a different way, yet there is one goal which all are striving to attain, namely to experience joy.

I know what the pursuit of joy is. I know the aim has largely been confused by most; yet, though I know what the pursuit of joy is... I can't affirm what Paul says in Philippians. I've heard all the arguments about the difference between joy and happiness. The cliche's abound--choose joy, joy comes in the morning, joy-Jesus, others and you. As I evaluate my walk with the Lord over the past eleven years, I'm not seeing the joy. I see the duty. I see the obligation, but I don't see the consuming pleasure of Christ motivating my steps. Augustine hints at it, as does Paul, Edwards, Lewis and here recently Piper... my not experiencing joy doesn't have to do with not wanting it.

Becky and I were up late last night discussing where the Lord has us in life right now. We have a lot of uncertainties. In all aspects of life, what does the Lord want from us? I do believe God wants us to find joy. I pray that Becky and I strive to attain that one end for which man was created, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We've learned that one cannot bring glory to God if there is no joy. Vis-a-vis, one cannot have true joy without brining glory to God.