“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
Joy is not dependent on your circumstances.
Some of the world’s most miserable people are those whose circumstances seem the most enviable. Many reach the top of the ladder of success only to find emptiness awaiting them.
Whether in a palace or a prison, true joy is a by-product of living a life in the constant presence of Jesus. We should not judge a day as one of difficulty because it contains difficulties.
We should focus on the Master and many of the problems that clamor for our attention will resolve themselves. Problem solving should be secondary to the goal of living close to Jesus. That way, we can find true Joy even amidst the most difficult of days.
Don’t confuse joy with happiness.
There is a difference. A dictionary definition of happiness is “a state of well-being, a pleasurable or satisfying experience.” The definition of the word “rejoice,” from which our word “joy” comes, is “to feel great delight, to welcome or to be glad.”
Depending on the translation, the Bible uses the words “happy” and “happiness” about 30 times, while “joy” and “rejoice” appear over 300 times.
James 1:2 says, “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials.” How could we ever consider going through difficulties and trials a reason to feel joy?
James 1:3-4 gives us a clue when it says, “Knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The deep, abiding joy comes as we persevere through trials, with God’s help, and our faith matures and is strengthened. Happiness tends to be fleeting and depends upon temporal factors like circumstances or other people.
Joy, on the other hand, is true contentment that comes from internal factors like our faith in the Lord. True joy is everlasting and not dependent upon circumstances.
By John Grant
Used by Permission
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney
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