Follow your heart. Do what makes you happy. Make your dreams come true. For many of us, the search for true happiness begins at an early age. My preschool daughters are already bombarded with these cultural messages on a daily basis. But what does true happiness look like? Is it prince charming? The happily ever after? The perfect career or ideal family? These things can certainly make you feel happy for a moment, but what happens when the “feeling” fades? Does happiness go away when imperfection comes?
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- Joy is the result of abiding in the Holy Spirit.
Because of our Messiah and the cross, we can experience the joy of the Lord from within. It’s through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us that we can rejoice in the midst of trials.
Apart from the Holy Spirit, we can experience “happiness.” There are many things in this life to enjoy. Family, friends, careers, hobbies… life certainly can be fun! But unfortunately, there are some not-so-fun aspects of life. What brings us happiness for a moment can bring us sadness the next. The joy of the Lord is unlike any other. It gives us strength through trials and allows us to find peace in difficult circumstances. We can rejoice in the hope of salvation even in the face of persecution and suffering.
- The joy of the Lord can’t be explained.
From an early age, the world teaches us to “do what makes us happy.” Culturally speaking, a successful life is one that has found true happiness. Perhaps you found your ideal career, had the family you always wanted, or married the spouse of your dreams. In every scenario, the end goal is the same… find something that makes you happy and do it.
But careers come and go, families experience strife, and we all know that no marriage is perfect… so then what? If we search for happiness in the things of this world, we will be sorely disappointed. For when pain comes, happiness goes away. It is for this reason that the world can’t understand our joy in the midst of our pain. The joy of the Lord is everlasting, and His peace sustains us in all things. His joy doesn’t come and go based on circumstances.
- God’s peace and His joy are proof that God gives good gifts to His children and that He desires our happiness.
I’ve heard it said that God desires our growth rather than our comfort or happiness. And in some ways, this may be true. He is certainly in the business of using our hardships to bring about growth in our lives. But His intention was NEVER for our suffering. Will we experience difficulties? Yes. But God wants us to rely on His peace and His joy in the midst of them. In Christ, we never have to experience pain the way the world does.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine my life without God. I’ve gone through my fair share of storms, but through it all He was with me. I’ll be honest… I wasn’t always the best at relying on Him. I often found myself trying to rely on my own strength. It was during these times that I struggled the most. But when I surrendered my struggles to Him, something changed. I discovered His peace and His joy… in essence, I was happy even though I was struggling.
God never promised us a struggle-free life… but that doesn’t mean He called us to a miserable one either.
Even in the midst of struggles, the life God gives is abundant and full of His joy.Click To Tweet
- The world won’t always understand our joy… but they know it’s what they need.
The world longs to be happy. And when I say “the world,” I mean every person on the earth. We all desire to find purpose and true happiness in our life. No one wants to be miserable or in turmoil. We all know we need joy, but the truth is that the source makes all the difference. If you choose to look for joy in an unreliable source, your “joy” is destined to come and go based on circumstances. But if you find your joy and your peace in Christ, it will be everlasting.
We spend our lives searching for true happiness, and the only way to find it is in Christ.
You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. – Psalm 16:11
*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture quotations taken from the NASB.