Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I've Got The Joy

So the fruit of the Spirit is Love, then Joy. So I’m pondering on the aspects of joy for the Believer. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that joy, for the Believer, is to be separated from happiness. It’s not that we shouldn’t have happiness. We should. It’s that our joy should be present regardless of our feelings. In-other-words; you cannot be happy without being joyful. But you can be joyful without being happy. Happiness is external. Joy is internal. Happiness depends on outward circumstances. Joy depends on inward character. Happiness depends upon what happens to you. Joy depends upon Who lives within you. Happiness is based on chance, while joy is based on choice.

Think of happiness as laughter and joy as peace or contentment. Laughter is good for you, and laughter is healthy. Solomon said: "a merry heart does good like a medicine." (Prov. 17:22) The usual reason for laughter is because something makes us happy. But we don't always laugh because we are not always happy.

But there is a contentment, a gladness of heart, that goes above and beyond happiness—joy. Biblical joy is peace. Consider what James said, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials. (James 1:2 NKJV). How can we be happy when we go through a trial? We can’t. But we can be content, knowing that, “All thinks work together for good, to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28)

So laughter is good. So how about a joke? A rabbi and priest and a lawyer walk into a bar...OK, maybe not. On a serious note, Vance Havner once said: "The men of the world are not laughing at Christians who 'get happy' over being saved, half so much as they are disgusted with Christians who are showing no evidence of a dynamic transforming experience that makes us love what once we hated, and hate what once we loved."

David put it this way, “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.” Psalm 5:11

Laughter is good, but joy is better. Joy resonates in the life of the Believer who has found that God is all they need, because God is all there is. Billy Sunday said, “If you have no joy in your religion, there is a leak in your Christianity.” Jesus said in John.15:11, "these things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."

What does it all mean? I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart...down in my heart to stay. As many church signs have quipped, No Jesus—No Peace. Know Jesus---Know Peace.

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