I've been thinking a lot about desires lately, how desires not only guide us, but also fuel us. Doing what we love energizes us while it brings us pleasure. Previously in this psalm, David mentions several things which bring him delight: others who follow after God, boundary lines that have fallen in pleasant places, the constant presence of the Lord to guard and counsel. I believe we are hard-wired for pleasure. In the author bio to the right are a list of things that I love. Knowing and choosing what brings me joy is part of being responsible for my own happiness. The pursuit of happiness fails only when the pleasures I seek are not deep enough to sustain me. They, like idols of old, are insubstantial and man made.
But what I started pondering this morning was this: do we have the ability to expand our capacity for joy? It seems from this psalm that we are presented with pleasures from now to eternity. It is true that in the new earth (watch for later posting on E2) the joy will be ratcheted up to an amazing degree, given the drag of sin and its affects will be gone. But even now, we are constantly given opportunities to be joyful. It comes part and parcel with the full life that Jesus brings us through His Spirit. "Open wide your mouths", says Jehovah in Psalm 81, "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it".
What if the ability to be joyful is like a muscle? The more we use it, the stronger it grows. I struggle with physical exercise, although I know it will give me the capacity to be more productive both physically and mentally. But this exercise - the practice of choosing joy - is one that I truly love.