Just Right Happiness…
You may have heard folks say we have a right to be happy. Let me tell you something. It isn’t in the constitution. It also isn’t in God’s word. But just because it isn’t doesn’t mean we are to be sad and down trodden all the time.
Note from Kip…
The Constitution of the United States of America states that we have a ‘right’ to pursue happiness. No assurance we will be happy all the time or even ever for that matter, but we have the right to pursue it.
The Bible on the other hand never says we are assured happiness. It does however, tell just us that we should be continually joyful.
There is a very important distinction between joy and happy and that is what this devotion seeks to focus in on today.
“I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you.”
John 15:11-12 (HCSB)
Complete joy! Do you think perhaps that might make you happy? Having complete joy?
Happiness is something that is fleeting at best. You go out and buy some new clothes, it might make you happy for a time but that happiness wears out faster than do the clothes.
Happiness or being happy is a very temporary thing. When our the writers of the constitution stated that we have the right to pursue happiness, I have complete confidence that they understood this.
Jesus on the other hand, didn’t speak about being happy but talked a great deal about being joyful or joyous.
Joy is something that is abiding and remains with us over time. Happiness is entirely dependent on our circumstances, joy is not. Joy increases dramatically the potential of having happiness, but when the Happy subsides, joy remains.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 (HCSB)
Joy is useful in building up our spirit and that’s why it tends to promote happiness as well.
One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. You’ll not see Happiness in the list.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
Joy persists when the conditions around us degrade and can endure despite pain and tragedy.
Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (HCSB)
The Source of Joy
Our joy comes from the Lord. It is from his blessings, promises, and His commitment to our long term wellbeing that we derive joy. The fact that He loves us and has loved us before we ever acknowledged Him is central to our love for Him and this is also part of what energizes that joy in us.
You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.
Psalms 16:11 (HCSB)
It is that guardianship that God provides for His Children that perpetuates that joy. This joy is sustained during the worst of circumstances.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
James 1:2-5 (HCSB)
I’m personally convinced that the joy infused in us by our relationship with God is a direct result of the grace He bestows on us constantly. Yes, His grace was applied when we surrender our lives to Him and He pardons us from our guilt of sin. But Grace doesn’t end there, it is perpetuated constantly through out our lives.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
Lamentations 3:23-25 (NLT)
So with every morning, a new bounty of joy fills us from the grace He imparts to us. We are refilled and refreshed anew each and every day.
Now that, is something to be happy about!