Led by Emotions

I don’t know why but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about something someone said in a bible study a while back (fall of last year).  When we first started going through Ephesians, the leader said that he hoped that we would learn to not be led by emotions.  I kinda understood what he was saying and I’ve often heard the proper Christian life described like a train where truth is the engine and emotions is the caboose.  I guess lately I’ve been thinking about the impossibility of this in light of what Lewis wrote, that we all do things and make choices that attempt to maximize our joy.  Whether we chose to eat ice cream or carrots, go for a walk or veg in front of the tube, read the bible or throw it away, we’re all doing things that we think will maximize our joy.  If that’s true then even someone who takes effort to not be led by emotions is doing so to try to maximize his joy.  Sounds kinda futile if you ask me. I also remember him saying something about not criticizing his sermons…


  • azazel goat hunter

    January 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm Reply

    eat carrots

  • theo

    January 13, 2011 at 9:32 am Reply

    ok, mom.

  • Anonymous

    January 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm Reply

    It is entirely possible when someone who takes effort to not be led by emotions is doing so to try to maximize his joy. Here is what CS Lewis means by the word “joy”.

    “Joy, must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again…I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.” – C.S Lewis

    “The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.” – CS Lewis

    Lewis defines this special joy as “an unsatisfied longing which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.”

    I don’t pretend to understand the last quote.

  • theo

    January 22, 2011 at 7:02 am Reply

    Thanks for posting! How interesting! I know I’ve read this before but I never thought of it in terms of control. So Joy is something outside of ourselves but Pleasure is something we can create? Not sure if I understand that fully myself.

    In contrast, here is what Piper has to say about Joy vs. Happiness:

    “Call it what you will: joy, satisfaction, contentment. It doesn’t matter, they are all in the Bible. The Bible is indiscriminate in its pleasure language. If you have nice little categories for ‘joy is what Christians have’ and ‘happiness is what the world has,’ you can scrap those when you go to the Bible, because the Bible is indiscriminate in its uses of the language of happiness and joy and contentment and satisfaction. It is lavish in all of them, and none of them is chosen above the other.”


  • Anonymous

    January 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm Reply

    Piper quoted the last CS. Lewis quote in his annual conference in 2010 as the main theme. This is not a contrast. Piper and Lewis were on topics in parallel about different aspects. Words often have different meanings/connotations within different contexts. When people use them, they qualify what they mean by this word in this context. The way CS Lewis used “joy” is in accordance to his definition for that context. CS was talking about the nature of joy leading to the source of true joy. Piper said “Joy is a technical word for CS Lewis”.

    Piper was talking about the experiential aspect of joy. “joy, satisfaction, contentment, happiness” all feel good. How true peopel all want to feel good and no one wants to feel bad. Distinguishing joy vs happiness based on Christian vs Secular is futile. But the pursuit of that common desire varies significantly based on the understanding of the source of this “feeling good”.

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