The Joy of His Way
Paul L. Garlington
 
Many centuries ago, Moses told the children Israel, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies…in the lack of all things.” (Deut 28:47) Joy and felicity is not a state reserved exclusively for those who die and go to heaven. Joy is:

  1. The quintessential nature of reality itself. “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life (not to life, but of life); in Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever. (Ps 16:11) Since in God’s presence is fullness of joy and God is omnipresent, then of necessity, joy too has to be omnipresent. It is impossible, therefore, to affirm that God is all there is of all that I am, and yet insist that joy is strangely absent from your life; and

  2. Life itself. That is, joy is just another synonym for life. Joy is not the destination, it is the journey. We have not been blessed to be alive in order to pursue joy as some prize, trophy or great accomplishment in which we take pride. Life, yea even the life that God is as all that I am, is infinite joy and infinite joy is life. If you have forgotten this then just put everything down for a while and go somewhere that you can observe little children at play. Feel the high energy environment around the little people whose joy is not tied to the masks they wear, the roles they play, the things they possess or the opinions of others. To say to a child, “Stop playing and get serious about life,” makes utterly no sense to that child. The child could not be more serious about life; hence he plays for he knows intuitively what we’ve forgotten. Specifically, that life is a wonderful game and the outcome is never in doubt. “It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity.” (Montaigne)


GAME OF LIFE

Has life become extremely burdensome for you? Isn’t it a fact that more often than not most people, weary of being beasts of burden for this oppressive ting called life, actually consider suicide as an attractive alternative to life? Can you see the irony here? What do the children know that we don’t? How do we rediscover and reenter the game of life? Is there a level of beingness and creative productivity that we have failed to enjoy because we have forgotten that life is a game? Since the life that God is is the life that I am, unfolding precisely as it should, can you see that we are eternally free to experiment, “fail”, and discover the infinite joy of Being being all that I am? This is called the game of life.

So, how does one play the game of life? This obviously presupposes that you agree with me, that life in its truest sense is lived most effectively when we approach it with the simplicity of a child. Moreover, you are also prepared with humility of heart and mind, and a healthy sense of humor, to ask yourself, “What in the world is up with me that children understand intuitively the very thing about which, in spite of my years of experience, education and alleged sophistication, I still do not seem to have a clue?”

HOW TO PLAY THE GAME OF LIFE

1. Realize you have to be in the game in order to play the game.

Unfortunately, in our world today, being an “adult” is more synonymous with adulteration than with maturity. It is this undeniable fact that makes the role of children such an indispensable factor in reentering the game of life. Ask yourself, if you were a child thinking life the adult you are now, would children want to play with you? Hence, the reentry requirement is that we must sacrifice, as an act of joyful worship, our belief in two powers that has caused us to adulterate the truth that God/good is all there is, and return to the One God, besides whom there is none else, with all our heart. “Your covenant with death shall be canceled, and our pact with Sheol (hell and the grave), shall not stand.” (Is 28:18) Accept the truth that the infinite, universal I Am, present as all that I am, has come that we might have life and abundance. Did you observe that it is abunDANCE? Rise up now and leap back into the game of life with joyful dancing, singing and great exultation. Remember, when the elder son approached the father’s house (consciousness of God/good as all there is), he heard music and dancing. He refused to go in because he had long ago opted out of the game of life.

2. Do it now!

He who hesitates is lost! Timing is everything and “Behold, now is the acceptable time…now is the day of salvation.” Jesus said, “If you know these things happy are you if you do them.” (Jn 13:17) To this, I would only add that “do it now” is implied. “And now, why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized (into this infinite ocean of God/good thus getting back into the game of life), and wash away your sins (i.e., embrace the freedom of the glory of the sons of God, saying good-bye to frustration and futility forever), calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16)

3. Pay absolutely no attention to how weird the game feels in the beginning.

“When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream.” Did you notice that they are experiencing the first days of their liberation as so strange and new that they speak of themselves in third person? Apparently it wasn’t until they heard the awe-struck exclamations of the surrounding nations saying, “The Lord has done great things for them, “ that they finally said, “Oh-my-God, the Lord has done great things for us and we are indeed glad.” In other words, they had so focused on the weirdness of this new liberated state, that they had lost touch with the fact that they were glad. Just because it takes your eyes a little while to adjust to this awesome light is no excuse to return to the darkness of Egypt and slavery. I would much rather feel weird and free than be a comfortable slave. Dance into the light until you experience yourself as an eternal being of light. Just because you feel stiff, awkward and self-conscious is also no excuse to not reenter this wonderful game of life. This is not like it was when you were rejected as a child because you couldn’t play the game good enough If you exist, you have been chosen to play the game of life, and absolutely no one will be able to play it just like you for it is what God is doing as you.

4. Judge not.

The game of life is a nonjudgmental context free of all guilt, shame, far and condemnation. We recognize that in the game of life, we always get back good measure, pressed down and shaken together exactly what we put out there. Hence, if we feel guilt, shame, fear and self-consciousness (a sense of separation from God/good), is it not due entirely to the fact that we have judged something or someone thus making God a liar? “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself (or anyone else, for that matter) in what he approves.” (Rom 14:22) Now what, pray tell, is this conviction? “All things came into being by Him and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being…and God saw all that He had made and behold it was very good.” This is what we must approve with conviction and it will make us exceedingly happy. What? Are you kidding me? How can I approve what God pronounced good and still feel condemned? Let us all rise en masse and let out our majestic yawp, “Let God be true and every man (and manifestation) be a lie.” Let the desert and every howling wilderness hear our joyful celebration of the fact that God, who cannot lie or die and whose word abides forever, said its all good. In this there is no condemnation!

5. Count it all joy!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…” (Jam 1:2) Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. If you don’t like it, get over it because there is nothing you or anybody else can do about it. When you re-enlist in the game of life then, like Abraham, you realize that you must go out not knowing where you are going. Abraham was specifically told to go to a land that God would, later on, show him. In other words, every child understands that a major part of the fun and adventure in the game of life is that information is only given on a need to know basis. You must realize that the only thing causing you pain is your resistance to something over which, humanly, you have no control. If you are kicking and screaming and having a perpetual tantrum, no wonder you are having difficulty finding somebody to play with you. Moreover, how could the game of life be the awesome fun that it is if we weren’t required to wait for the denouement that brings together, like a grand drama, all the complicated pieces of the puzzle, revealing the glorious picture we waited with bated breath to see?

Therefore, in the meantime, and in between time, count it all joy. There simply cannot, under any circumstances, be an exception to this command. Every so-called adversity is a gilt-edged invitation to the celebration of God/good with joy, dancing, being yet more vile. We reject nothing, for everything created by God is good and is experienced as such when received with gratitude. Do you see it yet? God is the only giver and, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” (Jam 1:17). Hence the game of life is played on a daily basis as we realized that it is God, and God alone, who brings all these things to us to see what we will name them and so it is. All pain and suffering that turns the game into a nightmarish experience occurs solely because at best, we insist God/good has changed and, at worse, we make God a liar.

What’s the secret? Agree with God! This is the confession that leads to salvation. Call everything good. Can you do this? A child can! Maybe that’s why they can so easily enter into the game of life with such total abandon. “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey and your sons who this day have no knowledge of good and evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.” (Deut 1:39)

Ahhhh, the joy of His way! Now I can say like Paul, “I think myself happy…I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” “But what,” you may ask, “Is the heavenly vision?” “The whole earth is full of God’s glory.” And not only so, but, “The whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.” In order to participate in, as well as, enjoy the game of life, I have made my peace with, “not knowing” until omniaction brings about the glorious manifestation of every minute detail of my life perfectly. In the meantime, I am well able to count it all joy based on the irrefutable fact that “in His presence is fullness of joy.” Since God is present as the very life that I am, this joy, yea even this fullness of joy, must be what I am. Until the final curtain, this is THE JOY OF HIS WAY!

 
 

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