Last week I mentioned that I had been thinking about topics to finish out this year and three words had come to my mind. The first word that came to me was Peace, and that is what I wrote about last week. The second word was Joy and that is what I will be discussing today. I believe that peace and joy are closely entwined – if you have true peace then joy will come into your heart much easier and vice-versa.
The word joy is frequently used interchangeably with the word happiness; and, when you look up their definitions in the dictionary they will show them as synonyms. But for a very long time I have believed that happiness can be a much more “fragile” emotion than joy. In fact, in researching “joy vs happiness” I found this from Billy Graham (which I have shared before):
“Many people think that being happy and being joyful are the same thing, but there is a difference. We experience a sense of happiness when our circumstances are pleasant and we’re relatively free from troubles. The problem, however, is that this kind of happiness is fleeting and superficial. When circumstances change—as they inevitably do—then this kind of happiness evaporates like the early morning fog in the heat of the sun.
“Even when our outward circumstances are seemingly ideal, we still may be troubled inside by a nagging hunger or longing for something we cannot identify. We say we are ‘happy’ but down inside we know it is only temporary and shallow at best. Even from time to time, we may think we have found a degree of happiness, but it eventually vanishes.
“The kind of happiness that’s lasting is an inner joy and peace, which endures in any circumstance no matter what comes our way. It may even grow stronger in adversity. This is the kind of happiness to which Jesus summons us in His sermon of the Beatitudes. He alone has the answer to our search for lasting happiness. ‘He who heeds the word [of God] wisely will find good,…happy is he’ (Proverbs 16:20).
“Such happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one that dwells deep within us and gives us inward contentment even in despairing circumstances; it needs no outward stimulus. ‘Count it all joy,’ the Bible says, ‘when you fall into various trials’ (James 1:2), because happy is the person who has learned the secret of being content with whatever life brings and then to share this secret with others who need encouragement.”
I believe that God’s presence, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, gives us His joy that will permeate our very soul to such a depth that it cannot be explained. It will bring us comfort; and, if we sit in His presence to study His Word and pray, then follow His directions (laws) for our lives, they too will give us joy and make us stronger. Who would not desire to have all those benefits in their life? I know that I would much prefer to have the deeper rooted, more meaningful joy of the Lord, than to have the more fragile emotion of happiness.
Here are some scriptures to back up what I stated that I believe and hopefully they will be an encouragement to you – to seek joy for yourself instead of just happiness. [All emphasis is mine]
Galatians 5:22-23 (ERV) “But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”
1 Peter 1:8-9 (ERV) “You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You can’t see him now, but you believe in him. You are filled with a wonderful and heavenly joy that cannot be explained. Your faith has a goal, and you are reaching that goal—your salvation.”
Psalm 94:19 (NLV) “When my worry is great within me, Your comfort brings joy to my soul.”
Psalm 16:11 (NET) “You lead me in the path of life. I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight.”
Psalm 19:8 (TLB) “God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.”
Nehemiah 8:10 (ERV) “Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy the good food and sweet drinks. Give some food and drinks to those who didn’t prepare any food. Today is a special day to our Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy of the Lord will make you strong.’”
So, during this holiday season my desire is to send…Joy to the world, and to all of you!
Written by Karran Martin – December 11, 2021