Happiness or Joy?
My life group has started a study on the book of Philippians. Philippians is the JOY 101 book! My life lately along with so many other Christians, have been less than ideal in many ways. I see the world declining into the end times right before my eyes as it jumps off the pages of the Bible. It is very hard for someone like me to witness such evils in the world when I am full of a love and compassion that comes from a well of never ending quenching waters of Jesus. I cannot comprehend how some of the people (groups) think these days. Studying this book has come at the perfect moment in time for so many people.
When we hear the word Joy we think of happiness, right? Is joy just happiness? The Webster definition of the two words are this:
Happiness: The State of being happy
Joy: A feeling of great pleasure and happiness
Interesting how they are still very similar in definition. The worlds idea of happiness is always based on a “feeling” feelings come and go with circumstances. The Biblical explanation of Joy is not based on feelings or circumstances. It comes from Jesus who can sustain us in any and All circumstances with the ability to give us pure Joy no matter or circumstances! Just as Paul demonstrates in his letter to the Philippians as he expresses himself with pure Joy that he is not worried one bit about sitting in jail for the glory of the kingdom of God! He is able to be content in all acts of life… in all circumstances!
To me Paul seems to be a bit “super” human, who can be praising God while in prison? SO many times my first reaction to trials are not a joyful praise by all means, usually a shaken fist in the air screaming WHY! Over the years of my faith maturing I have been able to lower that fist, lower my tone of voice and simply state, “ok God, now what” still not at the joyous state that Paul is in. Our faith journey is exactly that, a journey, to learn to grow, mature… then eventually hear the words ” well done thy good and faithful servant!”
One thing that I have come to understand about being a Christ follower and reading my life manual AKA the Bible, is that this road is a long narrow rough, tortuous at times, in a direction to the most splendrous reward waiting at the end. I most likely will be crawling with every ounce of my being at that last final stretch. Endurance is the key, keeping the faith, keeping my eyes pointed forward, eye on the prize! The most amazing thing about this race is who is running along side of us, Jesus is there every step of the way ready and whiling to lend a helping hand! Ready to give that peace and joy to sustain our faith as Paul demonstrates so well in Philippians. I encourage you to read this book, put your self in his shoes while he is writing to his dear friends! Chose to daily put on that armor, chose to except the Joy of the Lord daily! Train your thoughts to be ready for when tough times come! I don’t want to be drove by my “feelings” on things that come and go. I want to pure lasting Joy that only comes from the Lord!
Philippians 4 :8,9 (NLT) says this, And now dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you!
Matthew 18:3 (ESV) says this, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Like Children? yes have you ever just sat at a park and watched and listen to the children laughing and playing, having a grand ol’ time? Children are so innocent and pure, usually full of joyous laughter. Life is full, and a bit naive when we are children. This is how our Lord wants us to be! Joyous in it all, not sourpuss old farts! The hearts of children are loving and kind until the the sin in this world slowly positions them as it does us all. WE cannot let this happen. It is up to us to chose life, to chose Jesus, to SHOW Jesus light to this darkened lost world.