Joy or Happiness

It was a classic evening meal.  It was a great evening meal.  The boys were home and we were sitting around the table talking about all sorts of topics.  Into this mil eau came the topic of joy.  I asked them….what is the difference between happiness and joy?  We bantered this around a bit and I got up and went to my study to grab Webster’s Dictionary.  By the time I came back to the dinning room table with my tome in hand, they had their phones out and were doing their own research.  The difference between the generations reared its head, once again…….but the conversation continued.

The boys were making a case for the idea that happiness is an attitude or mind set that transcends the situation.  They were of the opinion that some people are just happy and they bring that attitude, that buoyancy into any and all situations.   I was making the same sort of case for the concept of Joy.

I was and am, of the belief that joy is a concept that transcends ones life situation.  If joy truly transcends one’s situation then how does that happen? I would like to suggest that the basis of our Joy is to be found in our relationship with the God of the universe.  Paul in his letter to the Philippians says this: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  It is important to note that Paul is writing these words from a prison cell.  Therefore, it is safe to say that his situation does not dictate the source of his joy.  Yet, Paul encourages us to rejoice. The key to this joy is our ability to return to our joy.  And what is the source of this Joy?  It has to be wrapped up in our understanding of who God is and how it is that he made us.  

Let me review a few of my key beliefs.  These fuel my joy, a joy that transcends my situation. 

Key one: I am made in the image of God.

Key two: I am called into a relationship with God because He loves me.

Key three: when I respond to that call to relationship, God’s spirit starts to live within me.

Key four: filled with His loving spirit, I become His ambassador to a hurting world.

Key five: I am of infinite worth because of who He is & what He has done in me & what He want to do through me  

My joy comes from the incredible fact that the Lord of the Universe loves me, desires me, seeks me, empowers me and rejoices in & through me.  That is the source of my joy! 

That joy cannot be taken from me because it is not about me.  It is about Him and His love! If happiness is situational…..then it depends on what is happening.  Joy is transcendent and transformational It is about a relationship that is unconditional!

 As we move into this new year, I would like to encourage you to reflect upon the source of your Joy. What is the source of your joy?  Is it situational? Is it transformational?  

May we rejoice and give thanks as we celebrate all we have been given! as we celebrate a new year!