Defining Joy, Part 2

By Nate Hartman

August 29, 2011

JoyThis is the third in a season-long series of posts on the topic of joy, as it relates to the life and athletic pursuits of your teams.  These weekly posts will correspond with each weekly study from The Wellspring of Life Initiative, a unique "Discipline for Godliness" program for athletes developed by the NCSAA (and available to all member schools, as part of their membership).  This post corresponds with Week 2: "Defining Joy, Part 2."

 7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
   even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
   With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
   my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
   nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
   you will fill me with joy in your presence,
   with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

-- Psalm 16:7-11

  • Many people spend their lives training to attain a top prize or ultimate achievement.  They believe that, when they reach that pinnacle, their joy will be complete — but many speak instead of feeling empty when they attain their goal.  Why?  What is their joy based on?
  • According to Proverbs 14:12-13, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.  Even in laugher the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.”  When you do what “seems right” based on your own desires, what is usually the result?  Do you find joy that is fulfilling and lasting?  In your athletic activities, in what ways do you and your team act in ways that “seem right” to you?  What are the consequences of your determining what is “right,” based on your own thoughts and emotions?  What commitment to you need to make in order to pursue the security that flows from joy (Psalm 16:7-8)?
  • What three things does King David say are true of him, in verse 9?  Why are these things true of him (v. 10)?  Why is David confident that God will “not abandon me to the realm of the dead” (v. 10)?  Does he not expect to die?  What is this “path of life” that David knows (v. 11)?
  • Review the three things that David mentions in verse 9.  At what times in your life have you not had a glad heart, a rejoicing tongue, or a restful body?  What obstacles or problems have contributed to those times?  Do you ever make excuses, or seek to blame something or someone else for these times of difficulty — rather than turning back to God for your joy and security?
  • How do a glad heart, rejoicing tongue, and restful body contribute to your success as an athlete?  How does your possessing those things benefit your team?  Which of these things is the one that you most need to pursue, at this time — and (again) how can you pursue it?
  • What fears or uncertainties creep into your relationship with God?  Do you have a deep confidence that God will not abandon you?  If not, how can you expect to experience joy?  How can you expect to find a true joy in any part of your life, including athletics?
  • Remember that King David developed a closeness with God (“joy in your presence”) because God made known to him “the path of life” (v. 11)?  How did God reveal this path to David, and what does He make available to you, so that you can learn more about this “path of life” that leads to lasting joy?  Do you spend daily time reading Scripture?  How can you pursue real joy if you don’t spend time in relationship with God?
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