I've been thinking a lot about joy lately. Specifically, joy vs. happiness. Happiness is that elusive feeling, idea, concept...whatever label you fancy, that people seek all their life. I'm inclined to believe that if we as humans would quit seeking the feeling of happiness, & instead choose the lifestyle of joy, it would be a whole lot easier.
Happiness is earthly & selfish. It's a self-serving, make-me-feel-good kind of deal. The world constantly screams at us "Do what makes you feel good!" "Enjoy your life!" "Be happy!". That then teaches people that it's okay to grab, feel, make, & do foolish things for those fleeting moments of fuzziness, passion, or ecstasy. Those feelings are enjoyed, then too quickly, life returns to normal & the race to fulfill yourself & make yourself happy begins all over again.
Joy is heavenly & selfless. It's not a fleeting emotion that arrives, then disappears, & then drives people to claw over each other just to find it again. It has no bearing on how much "stuff"you accumulate, how much people like you [or how much you like yourself, for that matter], or how much you feel it. You choose it. On the good & the bad days. When you're rested & chipper, or when you exhausted & sick The days with clear blue skies, or the rainy traffic jam when that guy cuts you off. Joy is eternal.
There are truly no words to describe it, I suppose. It's just incredible when you figure out that you haven't been choosing joy, & then you decide to choose joy. You know in The Wizard of Oz, how Dorothy was living in a world of black & white, then, when she is transported to Oz, her world turns to bright, vivid color? That's what living with joy is like. It doesn't make life easier, or less painful. But it does make it worth it.
I don't want something temporary. I want inexhaustible, fulfilling, life-changing joy.
& I've found that in Jesus Christ.
This quote basically sums it up::
"It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Saviour and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing: His joy in us knows no change."
- Hudson Taylor -