Monday, December 17, 2012

Joy and Happiness

Joy and Happiness
I sometimes will ask the people that I encounter what is the biggest goal in their life. After thinking through their responses they often settle on the following phrase. “I just want to be happy.” That’s the goal of most of the people in the world.

I just want to be happy….

While that’s a noble thought, it falls short what is best. It falls short of what God wants for us. The reason that this falls short is that happiness is an emotion. It rises and fades depending on your circumstance. When your kid hits a home run in little league you are happy. You jump up and down. You scream. You embarrass your kid. That’s happiness. But with every passing minute that feeling fades. The emotion goes away. That’s the problem with happiness – it comes and it goes. In the good times it’s your best friend. In the bad times it’s no where to be found.

I just want to be more than happy.

And then there is joy. Joy is not an emotion. It’s deeper than that. It’s a gift of God. Joy is what gives contentment when the happiness fades away. Joy gives peace when death rears its ugly head in our lives. When security is taken from us, joy is still there giving us hope in the security of our eternity. Happiness is fleeting. Joy is eternal.
The reason that we spend time talking about joy during advent is simple. Jesus is the source of our joy. It is only through Christ that we can experience true and everlasting joy.
The truth is that our joy is a result of knowing Christ. Our joy comes from knowing that the things that take away our happiness are not eternal. We know that even through hard times, financial struggles, families being separated, and even death; that even through these things, we will join Christ one day and glorify God forever. This is the source of our joy. And what a joy that is.
I hear a lot of people say that December is often the busiest time in their lives. It causes stress. There’s a lot of shopping to do. There are a lot of programs and parties to attend. There are so many things to do that the season begins to wear on them. This is always followed by the phrase, “but it’s ok, because Christmas is soon!” Christmas day is something that is looked forward to. It’s a goal. It’s what keeps them going.
My prayer for you today is that you would view heaven that way. We have eternal life through Christ. What a beautiful thing! I pray that as you think about this, you are filled with the joy of knowing Him. I pray that you can rejoice and scream and shout the goodness of our Lord. (Go ahead, no one’s looking!) I pray that it overwhelms you and your joy reflects the glory of God to the world around you.

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