Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Joy Made Full

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  John 15:11

People often think of what makes them happy when you mention joy.  True joy is not about what makes us happy at all.  True joy comes from the inside and has nothing to do with emotions or circumstances.  Joy cannot be given or taken from us.  It is born in our hearts and nothing can steal it - not people or circumstances - unless we let them.

Some definitions of Joy are: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation; caused by over all contentment, soul satisfying incidents.

Joy is a state of being. Happiness is temporal and conditional. Happiness is an emotion dependent on personal feelings. Joy is the unconditional state of mind that accompanies fellowship with God. It is characterized by great wellbeing.

It is far better to seek "joy" as opposed to happiness.  Joy is related to happiness, but it is a deeper experience.  In the search for happiness we usually focus on ourselves, but joy moves us out of self-centered preoccupation and towards focus on others.  Joy is an experience which connects us to that which is "Greater" than we are.

The Greek word for 'joy' is derived from the Greek word for 'grace.' This is important to note, for it tells us categorically that joy comes from the grace of God. This means 'joy' isn't a human-based happiness that comes and goes.  Rather, true 'joy' is divine in origin.  It is a Spirit-given expression that flourishes best in hard times. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Joy is not dependent on circumstances.
For most people happiness is possible, but it’s also fickle, shallow, and fleeting. As the Word itself implies, happiness is associated with happenings, happenstance, luck, and fortune. If circumstances are favorable, you are happy; if not, you’re unhappy.  Christian joy, however, is directly related to God and is the firm confidence that all is well, regardless of your circumstances.  In Philippians 3:1 Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord.” The Lord is both the source and object of Christian joy. Knowing Him brings joy that transcends temporal circumstances. Obeying Him brings peace and assurance. If we are willing to give up the search for happiness, (self) we may find true joy.

This time of year it is especially easy to make the joy we have completely dependent on circumstances such as who can and can’t come home for Christmas, how much we get, how much we can give, if the decorations look perfect or if the ham is moist. Focusing on all the things of Christmas will cause us to miss the true message of Christmas – the King in the manger who brings true joy.

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