The Bible clearly states that we should be joyful always. What stands in the way of that? Why is it so hard?
I believe the reason is that we confuse joy with happiness.
Why is it important that we know the distinction between joy and happiness and practice joy every moment of every day?
One, the world is desperate to see the quality of a Christian’s love and joy to understand the love of Jesus. Two, because we are called to leave the legacy of joy for our children!
The world tells us where happiness comes from. They give us the happiness hour and the happy meal. Happiness and the pursuit of happiness never made anyone eternally happy. Happiness is getting what you want. Then you want more and more. Happiness comes from outside of us, such as a new car or clothes or an event. The periods of happiness are short, and they get shorter and shorter the longer we live, and thus we tend to live in fear. Happiness is like a wet bar of soap, every time you try to grab it, it slips away.
Joy is mentioned 70 times in the New Testament of the Bible. Yet we use joy and happiness interchangeable. Joy is a fruit of the spirit. A fruit comes from inside, not outside. You can’t hang fruit on a tree. Nutrients grow through the tree to blossom, and the tree produces fruit when cultivated. There are a number of qualities of joy:
- Joy is dependent on abiding in Jesus Christ. Happiness is dependent on outward circumstances of life. Nothing, let me repeat, nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus…whether employed or not, rich or poor, famous or not.
- Christian joy is not the absence of pain or sadness. In fact at my lowest point in life, I have experienced by greatest moments of joy. When Paul was writing about joy, he wasn’t at the French Riviera. He was in prison in chains and in the dungeon!
- Joy can help us beyond our circumstances and beyond the events of our life. By lifting our eyes to Jesus, we can experience a joy that is hard to understand in worldly terms.
- Joy like love can be observed in the times of stress and strain. The deepest joy comes from the grace of Jesus. Without Jesus, I deserve the judgment of God. Knowing that, believing that, understanding that and then remembering through His grace and favor to me, He loved me, redeemed me and put me on the path to Heaven brings enormous joy. The secret of joy is to REMEMBER THAT!
- What eludes most Christians about the joy of the Lord is that they worry about the future. Most want to get a handle on or control the future. Some even go to psychics to find it. But as Christians, we already know the future! That is the secret of permanent joy in the Lord. We can rest knowing the perfect plan and completion of our loving Father.
Allow me to tell you a story that will demonstrate my point…thanks to Dr. Michael Youssef for this story.
A little boy was given a priceless possession. It was his grandpa’s priceless gold pocket watch. He treasured it and valued it highly. He would hold it close to him, get it out of his pocket to look at it frequently, and then put it back in. He absolutely loved that watch.
One day he was playing in his father’s manufacturing plant, and he lost the watch. The poor kid was crying his eyes out, searching and scurrying about pushing the sawdust and ice and going in and out of the ice blocks looking furiously, frantically.
His hands were getting cold and numb. Then all of sudden he thought – stop moving and just sit on the floor and be silent…He began to hear the ticking of the watch – Tick, Tick, Tick.
The joy of the Lord is the fruit of the Spirit, and when you are too busy to be filled with the Spirit on a daily basis, you lose it. The scurrying of life, the noise of life, the racing around in life cause you to lose it, and then you wake up, and you realize it’s gone and you begin to look for it. You search and run around looking in all the wrong places. As a result, you begin to look for happiness instead of joy… and that does not last long.
If on the other hand you take a moment and become silent before God…and stay quiet for some time, you will begin to hear the Tick, Tick, Tick of the grace of God.
Take time every day to worship the Lord individually and with your spouse and enjoy His presence in your lives. Joy will find you again if it is lost, and you will be able to share that joy with a world desperate to find it. Your joy will be a legacy for your children – one they will remember and perhaps even have to find for themselves one day.
Free Download: Contentment Tensions Map
Are you content? Use this contentment map by Kingdom Advisors as the beginning of a bigger conversation that you have with your spouse or with the Lord about where you stand in light of the opportunity to experience greater contentment. This tool is not designed to be an assessment, but rather a conversation starter and a tool that begins to open doors to greater levels of contentment in your roles, relationships, and financial decisions.