8th July 2012
Galatians 5:22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. NIV
Remember that popular song of a number of years ago –“Don’t Worry – Be Happy!” And why shouldn’t we? Isn’t being happy everyone’s dream?
However, happiness is conditional on life and depends on our circumstances – even our environment, our achievements and pleasure all have an effect. Fortunately for most of us it is momentary and short-lived. It is true to say, I believe, that we have placed too much emphasis on happiness as a “right” that we deserve.
There is a state that is far more important than happiness, and that is joy, which is a spiritual reality which surpasses happiness. What has replaced the Easter celebration but the Easter bunny? What has substituted the birth of Jesus at Christmas but Santa Claus? The world’s idea of joy has been substituted by happiness.
As mentioned earlier, happiness is reliant on circumstances; joy goes beyond them. It’s true; you can be joyful even if you are not happy. Happiness as the world defines it, involves your environment—your home, your car, your money, your work, and your health—but joy is internal. If you stop and think about it most times happiness is temporary (nothing is the same forever) however joy is unshakable and remains when beauty diminishes. God is not necessarily the provider of happiness but joy has everything to do with Him. Happiness is material; joy is spiritual. Happiness is about your life right now; joy includes now and eternity.
If you did a little study of how often happiness or joy appear in the Bible you would find God has much more to say about joy. Writers of the New Testament simply say that joy is the out growing, the fruit of the presence of God within us in the form of the Holy Spirit. (See Galatians 5:22, 23)
At the end of the day, there is something far more valuable and much longer lasting than happiness as the world knows it, and that is joy.
Is happiness a feeling, a circumstance, and joy a personal characteristic? Think about it a little.
Written by John Gummer – some content is taken from Today can be the Best Day – Harold J Sala