Would you classify your life as happy or joyful? Are they the same thing? I would venture to say that they are not the same thing. When circumstances line up with our desires, we are happy. However, happiness fades away quickly when we don't get our way or we go through difficult times. God doesn't say 'be happy' because there will be tough times we have to face. We can have joy even in tough circumstances because it is relational. Are you allowing God to carry you through the tough times and experience His joy through it? Jesus uses our daily circumstances to carry us to greater faith. So are you hungering for joy or happiness? Let's look at the differences a bit more closely.
I searched the Bible on two keywords—'happy' and 'joy'. I discovered that 'happy' is found in the NIV 20 times while 'joy' was found 242 times. I found that very interesting. And I also wanted to look up the definitions of 'happy' and 'joy'. Here is what I found:
Dictionary.com defines 'happy' as "delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing." And I found a great definition of joy from Kay Warren's book "Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough." Kay Warren says:
Wow, her definition is perfect. I can have joy because I know that God is in control of the details. I can have joy because His plans are better than my own. I can have joy as I praise Him through every situation good and bad. I liked her definition so much, I chose to use it in my art today (see below).
Now let's look at what His Word says about joy:
Psalm 16:11 "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 19:8 "The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes."
Psalm 33:20-22 (The Msg.) "We’re depending on God; He’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own His holy name. Love us, God, with all You’ve got—that’s what we’re depending on."
Psalm 43:4 "Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God."
John 15:11 "I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
John 16:24 "Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
Acts 2:28 "You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence."
Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Is He your joy and your delight? We are filled with joy in His presence. In our troubles, joy knows no boundaries as we abide in Christ! Meditate on the goodness of Christ, and we are better able to be filled with joy and share Him.
Today I wanted to highlight Psalm 33:20-22 along with Kay Warren's definition of joy. Because I knew that the definition of joy was lengthy, I wanted to sketch it out first on a scrap piece of paper. I was not sure if it would fit in my Bible. I cut a strip of scrap paper that measured 1 7/8" x 6 3/4". I realized after doing that the definition would not fit so I needed to make some adjustments before putting it down in my Bible. I have never sketched out my ideas first but in this instance I had to because the definition was so long.
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