Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The difference between happiness and joy

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Job 1, 2, 3

Job 1:20-22 (NIV)
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

James 1:2-3 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the test of your faith develops perseverance.

Good morning!

There is a distinct difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is the effect one feels depending upon their particular circumstance. I have a new grandson, and that makes me very happy! If my grandson Andrew were not with us yet, would I still feel the same happiness I feel this morning? I doubt it. I would be waiting with baited breath for the baby to be born, and I would be praying for a safe delivery and a healthy boy. True joy is a gift from God and it has no bearing on the situation we find ourselves in. We can rejoice in knowing a baby is coming and all that means to our family! A new life changes everything! There is great joy when we anticipate the future and know for sure that the blessing is on its way.

This is the story of Job, a holy man of God, who had walked in the light of God's love all his days. Job was happily married. He and his wife had seven sons and three daughters, all of whom they were very proud of. He managed a large farm with lots of livestock. Job honored the Lord with his life, and everyone who knew them had great respect for his family.

Have you ever felt like everything was going your way – you were living the life many can only wish for? Job’s desire to please God burdened him so that he would rise up early in the morning and offer sacrifices for each of his children, just in case they may have sinned or cursed God the day before. The Lord knew Job’s heart and was pleased with his consistent and sincere devotion. When the accuser said that Job would not be faithful to the Lord in a season of suffering, God allowed him to attack Job and his family. Like Job, we all experience moments in time when we come under a spiritual attack. Did God stop loving Job when Job’s life began to fall apart? No - God’s love for Job had not changed. He allowed the evil one to enter into Job’s family as a test of faith.

It is easy to love God when life is good. Are you as willing to love Him wholeheartedly when things are not going so well? Happiness may all but disappear when we lose the ones we love to illness, death, and destruction. One day we have a paycheck – the next day, we are beating the pavement, looking for work. One moment, our home is full of love and laughter – the next minute, the house is silent and lonely. We feel great today, only to receive a dreaded phone call from our family physician, indicating the test results were not what we hoped for. Happiness can fade in the blink of an eye; in the breath of a second. True joy comes from knowing and trusting the One who holds our future in the palm of His hand. The things we face in life today are only a fleeting moment in time. We have seen the child – the gift of everlasting life. We hope for His imminent return, knowing it will not be long until we can be reunited with Him forever. The pain and suffering we endure here on earth is only for a moment. The love and joy we experience in eternity makes the difficult moments manageable. They will pass. God remains. Through Christ, we live again. True joy exists in knowing and loving the Savior of the world.

Are you happy today? Your happiness may disappear, but no one can take your joy, unless you let the evil one steal it away from you. Do not let your circumstances control your heart. Give your pain to the Lord. He understands your suffering and will fill you with His joy in every circumstance. The Apostle Paul understood the gift of true joy. Even while he was imprisoned, he considered it pure joy in trials and tribulation.

There is true joy in the journey of life. His name is Jesus. Do you know Him today?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: joy to fill you up and send you out into a world where happiness may not exist. Give the Lord Jesus Christ your heart today and experience true joy in Him!
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