“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of HAPPINESS,” an American mantra…it’s our right as designated by law. Happiness is wonderful, happiness brings pleasure, but, happiness is fleeting.
Any sensible person would agree, that in any given day …even hour, we can swing on a pendulum from happiness to sadness to anger, to pain, and back again. Happiness is a state of being influenced by our external circumstances from moment to moment. Therefore, there is never any guarantee that we will be happy because it depends on what is going on in and around us, only in that moment.
So then what do we do? Because we have all been here, and are here day to day. When traffic is light, I am happy, when it’s parking lot thick (often in Atlanta) I am not happy…often furious (pray for my fallacy)
New relationship…overwhelmingly happy…they don’t love me anymore, life is over. New job, overwhelmingly happy…get laid off, crushed. Great first date, so very happy, they don’t call for a second date…”something must be wrong with me.” There are hundreds of examples we could think through.
So then, what do we do? What are we left with?
Joy is distinguishable from happiness because it is not circumstantial, it is not dependent on moment by moment external events, and it does not change from moment to moment as a wildly unreasonable child does when they don’t get their way.
Joy is distinguishable from happiness because it is not an earned right, but a wonderful gift from Jesus. Joy is steady, Joy is tangible, and Joy is not marred or changed by the external trauma’s of our lives.
It is the Joy that those who follow Jesus are supposed to have in innumerable measure as that it so distinguishes the difference in how we respond to life, and all of the hell that it often holds, that it can’t be missed, and it can’t be mistaken.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
Jesus promises to give us His joy, and it is this Joy that so magnificently distinguishes itself from the happiness that comes in waves, and leaves in an instant. If you want to be complete, find the beauty in Christ’s Joy…