Joy is a topic that I’ve been meditating on quite a lot lately. Joy through difficult times; joy through suffering; joy through pain, and joy through the good times in life. Recently one of my coworkers asked me how I was so happy all the time. I gently set him straight, explaining that happiness and joyfulness were two completely different things, and that while I hoped to always have joy, there is no way I can always be happy. For you see, happiness is directly linked to circumstances. The moment a life situation does not go the way one hopes, their happiness is diminished, and they sink into a state of depression and throw themselves a huge pity party. Joy is different. Joy is not linked to circumstances, no, joy is linked to something so much grander and more wonderful than the ever-changing and turbulent journey we call life. Joy is deeply rooted in the Father, and in His supremely satisfying character. True and lasting joy cannot come from anywhere except God; to search for joy apart from Him would be the most worthless pursuit, because it doesn’t exist. My dear reader, I urge you to pursue joy! Run hard after this pursuit because it will satisfy you, and bring you more authentic joy than you ever thought possible. In the words of John Piper…
“The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God.”
Oh to spend my life seeking God’s face with my whole heart! That and nothing else will fill me with an unimaginable joy. All throughout the Psalms, the authors declare that they havefound their joy in God, and in Him alone.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of you; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” – Psalm 16:11
“May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you!” –Psalm 70:4
I’ve come to realize, after worthlessly seeking my satisfaction and joy in the world, that I waste my time when I think that something else will fulfill the deepest desires of my heart and give me the joy that I so passionately long for. It is not a bad thing at all for me to wish those places in my heart to be filled. The hole in my heart that I try so hard to fill with love, accomplishments, accolades, etc. I should want for that part of my soul to be satisfied; I should long to have a lasting joy, but I must realize that God is the one that my heart longs for and desires. My Father is the one who will impart unending joy. Like C.S. Lewis so beautifully says…
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
My precious reader, I implore you, do not settle for the cheap imitations of joy that the world offers. Do not be lead astray and get caught up in a love affair with the world, when your Father offers you Himself. Do not be the child sitting in their mud puddle, when something beyond your imagination is waiting for you. I beg you, look at your life, where is your joy coming from? Do you have joy, or are you settling for a counterfeit that we commonly refer to as “happiness.” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being happy, but if that’s all you’re depending on, I would reconsider happiness. Seek God and His joy above all else. Be the kind of person that, if all of your external possessions were stripped away, and your circumstances were drastically altered, you would still have the same amount of joy, if not more. Find your joy and delight in God, for when you do, there will you find life!
“The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” – Matthew Henry