Happiness comes from our circumstances, would you agree? Joy is not dependent on circumstances, and ironically, can become strongest when trouble comes. In Psalms we are reminded of the joy that comes when we rest in God’s presence:
You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. — Psalm 16:11
I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. — John 15:1
Take a look at happiness vs joy according to Randy Frazee:
• Happiness is a state of mind, while joy is a mind-set.
• Happiness comes and goes, while joy can be constant.
• Happiness is dependent, while joy is independent.
• Happiness is conditional, while joy is unconditional.
The apostle Paul had learned the secret to the joy (and contentment) found in Jesus. We have been learning about contentment in our KidZone children’s ministry this month. Philippians 4:11-13 were our key Memory Verses.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:11-13
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2-4
Note the end result of choosing joy — being mature and complete in Christ. Only in Jesus true joy is strengthened when life is challenging.
There is a source of joy available from serving Jesus. Take a look at His teaching in Luke 15:3-7:
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Joy comes when the lost are found! When we join Jesus in His work by sharing and seeing people come to Him, we can be a part of the heavenly celebration right here and right now.
Randy Frazee shares these final thoughts:
The joy of Christ can replace or reduce stress. Joy becomes a filter through which we view life. Joy is an ongoing reminder that God is in control — that He is in charge of the outcome. Joy comes from trusting the Controller of all things. The joy of Christ will become contagious through us. The joy of Christ will draw others to Christ. Happiness will be all too fleeting, but the joy of Jesus is available to your soul right now. When trials arise, choose to lean on Him, and you will find His joy.