“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
I started thinking about joy versus happiness. I pondered “joy” because some of my circumstances were not making me feel very happy. That’s when I realized I was confusing happiness and joy. I can be happy and not be joyful. I can be joyful and not be happy!
Happiness is external, it’s temporary. Happiness is what HAPPENS to us. Whether it’s our favorite specialty coffee, a wonderful vacation, your child’s good report card or a fun dinner with your girlfriends. Happiness comes from the good things that are “happening” in our lives. Happiness is an emotion, a feeling that comes and goes.
Joy is internal – it is a deep knowing. No one makes you feel joyful – it’s a state of mind. It’s God’s truth in You. It’s knowing with confidence that, because of Jesus, God has the last word in our life story – no matter what our circumstances are.
Joy is a choice – a decision to fully trust God. It is being fully persuaded that He can keep that which we’ve committed to Him. (2 Timothy 1:12)
Joy is hope in Christ – especially in the difficult places in life. Joy can’t be faked, we either have it in us or we don’t. We’ve got to keep it real and not be phony about our painful or difficult circumstances. We should never “pretend” that we aren’t struggling with something. When we put our hope in Christ to work all things for our good, peace follows! Peace is a benefit of hope and joy.
Joy is directly found in your relationship with Jesus Christ– soak in His unwavering love for you, know that He is for you and not against. Joy comes when we recognize God’s love for us, His life in us, His promises to us, and the commitment He made- to be our gracious and loving Heavenly Father, no matter what the circumstances are in our lives. He is the reason to be joyful!