Happiness and joy. Is there really a difference between the happiness this world offers, and the joy found in Jesus? There is – a huge difference. I want to explore in this post the difference between the two and why the happiness of this world is merely a counterfeit of the joy Yahweh offers.
Happiness. We’re told that we’ll have it…if – if we buy the newest iPhone, lose 50 pounds, try this new diet, like certain things, watch certain movies, take some time for ourselves for “me time” and focus on ourselves above others…the list could go on for all eternity. Each day it seems that the world tells us that something else will make us happy. It’s sad and it is dangerous to put our joy in things of this world.
The problems lies in this: the world is constantly changing. Therefore, things such as social media, movies, television, music, and even friends and family, only bring a counterfeit, temporal joy. When it comes to the end of the day, those things never really made us happy – they only made us feel a little bit of what we thought was pure joy. They only made us happy and gratified us in the moment, but when that moment ended, we were left empty again. When it comes down to it, things of this world will never satisfy you.
Joy. The Word of God tells us that in His presence is fullness of joy, and that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Is this true? I believe that without a doubt, it is.
If we seek the Lord, we find a joy that is lasting. It doesn’t just come upon us in our devotional time and leave us for the rest of the day, but when we truly place our hope and our ultimate joy in Jesus alone, that joy lasts. It strengthens us. It brings a smile to our face, a skip to our step, a hope to our heart, and, my friends, it is like none other. It brings us a lasting satisfaction, a hope that lasts and that is un-explainable, because it comes from an unseen source -Yahweh our Father. We can know that God’s Word is true, because God never breaks His promises.
Psalm 89:34 // I will not break my covenant, nor alter what my lips have uttered.
Numbers 23:19 // God is not a man, that he should lie, nor the son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?
All that God has said is true, and we can trust that His joy is real, because it’s talked about multiple times in His Word. Here are a few of my favorite passages on joy, comfort, and abundance from the Lord.
Nehemiah 8:10 // Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for today is holy to our Lord. Don’t be grieved; for the joy of Yahweh is your strength.”
Psalm 16:11 // You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forever more.
Psalm 23:5 // You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 // Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Joy is a mindset, and a choice. If we are continually focused on what we wish we could have, then we will never be joyful. If we focus on the storm, we will doubt His love. If we focus on this world and wish we could have what “they” have, then we will always feel discontent and empty. If we look at what’s going on in the natural, we will think it’ll never get better. HOWEVER, if we choose to focus on the blessings our Father has given us, His amazing promises and instructions in His Word, and just the goodness of a God who loves us so much more than we know, we WILL be happy. Because, it’s not really about what we look like to this world, or if we have everything it offers, or even the weight of the struggles that we go through- all that matters is God’s love. Joy isn’t something that can ever come from things – although God does often bless His children with some amazing things as we follow Him! Joy is knowing Jesus, and using our lives to share His goodness. Joy is denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and walking as Jesus walked. It’s quite the opposite of what the world describes to be “happiness.” Because as hard as they try, they can never create a happiness like God brings. Only God can overflow our cups with love.
I want to encourage you as you read this post, to not take what I shared today and forget about it. Whatever you’re facing today – whether it be comparison, discontentment, or just a rough season of life – choose to place your joy in Yeshua Jesus today. As James 1:2-3 says, count it ALL joy when you face various trials, because when your faith is tested, patience is produced in you. You do not walk alone, and you don’t have to live held down – joy is found in the One who died to save you, and oh how He loves you. //