Happiness is temporary. Happiness is dependent upon things “going well” and, given our propensity to quarrel, get sick, fail, and have hormonal fluctuations, it seems statistically impossible to experience any sort of sustained happiness in this life. On the other hand, joy is walking in victory in the good times and bad – it is the comfort of God’s constant and abiding presence. Joy is the knowledge of God’s control over the situations where chaos seems to reign; and it is the assurance that everything is going according to His plan, and for our good, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Joy is the inevitable result of a close, loving relationship with God and a compliant and obedient spirit. Here is a recap of the key thoughts (and key scriptures) for this week’s devotionals:
Day 1 – Scripture’s resounding theme is that Christians should experience abundant, overflowing joy. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
Day 2 – Joy remains elusive for some of us because we do not pursue joy – we pursue happiness, that transitory feeling of fulfillment. “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. Ecc. 1:2-8
Day 3 – The depth of joy we experience depends on the depth of our relationship with the Lord. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands. Ps 63:3-4
Day 4 – A full relationship with the Lord means that we whole-heartedly devote ourselves to Him and do not “flirt” with the world. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
Day 5 – No one takes our joy from us. We choose whether we will relinquish it because of a situation, person or sin or whether we will cultivate it and nurture it. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly John 10:10. Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:7-8
So now we understand a bit more about the nature of joy. Next week we will look at Abiding Joy. Tuesday I will post my devotional based on Chapter Two, The Gripe Tree, from Heartstrings: Finding a Song When You’ve Lost Your Joy. I think we are off to a really great start for this study. Thank you to my friend Kelly for sharing this book with me at just the time when I needed it. So anyone out there want to comment about your own Journey to Joy? Ready to get your family involved? Print the Joy Journal and keep track of joy in your home – great for your kids (or yourself).
JustaGirl…just like you!