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Author Topic: Joy vs Happiness  (Read 4870 times)

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Love is Patient, Love is Kind... 1 Cor 13

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« on: August 13, 2007, 11:25:32 AM »

March 16, 2005
"Joy vs. Happiness"

Glynnis Whitwer
Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries

Key Verse:
Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (NIV)

There are very difficult situations in life that on the surface, seem to offer no reason to be joyful. In fact, you might even say, "My situation is so terrible that to be joyful would be wrong."

I remember when my husband's mother was in a coma after a brain aneurism. My life was suspended. I remember feeling guilty if anything brought me joy. I thought, "How can I feel joy when she is in the hospital and likely won't recover?" It was a difficult struggle.

Some of you might feel that same way. Yet, Scripture is clear about joy. It is something the Christian is supposed to experience. And if we choose to believe the Bible is completely true and reliable, we are to have some sense of joy at all times. Paul said in Philippians 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"

What is this joy we are supposed to experience? Well, it isn't happiness, and confusion arises when get joy and happiness mixed up. You see, we don't choose happiness; it comes as the result of circumstances. The root word of happiness is the same root word as "happening." So, happiness depends on happenings.

Here's an example of experiencing a moment of happiness.

The poor country pastor was livid when he confronted his wife with the receipt for a $250 dress she had bought.

"How could you do this!" he exclaimed.

"I don't know," she wailed. "I was standing in the store looking at the dress on sale. Then I found myself trying it on. It was like the Devil was whispering to me, 'Gee, you look great in that dress. You should buy it.'"

"Well," the pastor persisted, "You know how to deal with him! Just tell him, "Get behind me, Satan!"

"I did!" replied his wife, "but then he said, 'It looks great from back here, too.'"

You might have grinned, laughed out loud or been annoyed that I'm telling a joke in a devotional. But it was automatic. You didn't choose your response. It just happened.

Joy on the other hand, is only found in the Lord. Joy comes partly from a deep, abiding knowledge that God has everything under control. We can experience joy in spite of our circumstances, when we choose to acknowledge that something good is going to come out of our pain. But, unless we distinguish joy from happiness, we will not experience the fullness of joy. To be happy over certain circumstances would be wrong - but it's never wrong to have deep joy.

In spite of your difficult situation today, choose to believe that God is working behind the scenes for your good. It's where the rubber meets the road. Do you really believe it? If you do, then God will fill your heart with unexplainable joy. Then you can rejoice in the Lord always.

My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, You are the creator and giver of joy. I praise You for this wonderful gift that brings a sense of rightness in troubling situations. I confess that I have often chosen worry or fear over joy. I long for my faith to be deepened, and to trust that You are working things out for my good. Help me when I depend on circumstances to bring peace and joy. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Identify a worry or concern that has stolen your joy. Identify your true fears over the situation. In prayer, place those fears in the hands of God. Ask Him to show you how He will bring good out of that situation. Praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 05:57:06 PM by adsglinda » Logged
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