Wednesday, August 21, 2013


What brings you joy?

A new house, car, clothes? New friends or relationships?

We often confuse joy with other words. Happiness is a word which has the same root as the word, happenings. It is said that wishing "happiness" to someone evolved from wishing "good happenings."

Happiness is primarily outward. It is a feeling or state of mind that comes from landing a good job, finding your soulmate or winning the lottery.

Joy can be described as an inward thrill or excitement that is often experienced in spite of the outward circumstances or "happenings" in our lives rather than as a result of them!

The biblical meaning of joy is something born of the Spirit of God. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians chapter five.

Perhaps the best definition of joy in the Bible was written by David in Psalm 16:

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

"Good happenings" can bring us a temporary "rush" but the Divine Presence of God is the only source of true inexpressible joy!

The Apostle Peter also spoke of this joy:

Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
1 Peter 1:8

God knows we are human and we all need a certain amount of "good happenings" in our lives.  But that does not change the fact that not even the best circumstances cannot impart the joy of the Lord to us! That can only come from being in God's presence!

As Christians we often fall into the trap of attempting to use God to change our outward circumstances, hoping it will result in abundant joy.

God will meet our outward needs but the inward joy that comes from knowing God can only come from Him!

The old hymn written by Helen H. Lemmel in 1922 expresses it so well:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.