People oftentimes mistake joy for their happiness. While they do share some of the same characteristics, they are actually different. Your joy always comes through having inner peace. Happiness is an emotion that we experience when things seem to be working out and going our way. There is an aspect of fun and excitement to happiness; where with joy, in the Biblical context, is an attitude of the heart and only comes through self-surrender and self-sacrifice of the flesh, by accepting those things that we cannot change and being content with the circumstances that we may be in for a time.
Our joy is never dependent upon our happiness. Our happiness comes and goes, but our joy can be full at all times even in the difficult times, if we look to the Lord for our joy. Jesus told us over and over how to have joy and how to keep it. He said that “He came to do the Father’s will”. For the most part we think of that statement as meaning, to die for the sins of the world, and that is true, but there is way more than just His physical death. He also came to show us how to conquer the hard places that we pass through. He said that He delighted to do His Father’s will. That implies that He was making the choice to obey what was being ask of Him, no matter what it may be. You see Jesus had a unique understanding of what it really takes to live with joy in the midst of every kind of circumstance that life would dish out to Him. Jesus even prayed that our joy would be made full, just the same as His was.
Life is not about stuff, not about work, not simply about wisdom, not about people, not about circumstance, but about perfect communion with the Son of God. It’s about our faith in Him, it’s about our obedience to Him, and it’s about our relationship with Him. The first thing that will hinder our joy in a circumstance is when we begin to start thinking about and focus on the irritation of the situation. John 15:11 says that the reason that our joy does not stay full is because we are not allowing His joy to remain in us. We are trading His joy for disappointment.
The cares of this world will always choke out the Word of God in our lives. We will only re-gain our joy when we are rightly related to Him. For the child of God, walking in joy is almost an unconscious effort as long as we are abiding in Him, not allowing anything to hinder that joy. But once our joy is hindered, we must refocus on truth and not what our flesh leads us to do or feel; which is the total opposite of truth. How do you regain your joy? By embellishing what you already have, if you are in Christ. Romans 15:13a says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy…”. you already know of His joy and it is a sweet resting place that we can run to when we need it. But the only way to get there is to let go of the current place and race back to what you know brings that peace and restores the joy that you are allowed in and through Him.
Joy is for the most part contentment, yet for the child of God it goes even deeper. Joy should never depend upon our happiness; but our happiness should always be dependent upon our joy. God’s joy is something that He deposits into us at our new birth through the Holy Spirit and is maintained through our walk with Him. The devil will try everything within his power to steal that joy because he understands its importance in the life of a child of God. If he cannot rob us of our joy he will tempt us with things that can temporarily cause us to drift away from God, leaving us then with a feeling of “lacking”.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8