A beautiful flower. A dear friend. A breathtaking sunset. The sound of children's giggles. All these things bring warmth to my heart, and I thank the Lord for the countless good things He constantly gives each of His children to brighten their day.
I heard a quote once that has stuck with me:
"Happiness depends on happenings. Joy depends on Jesus."
How true is that!!? I really do believe that most of us as Christians are stuck living in that first sentence. I know that I often am. If things go well, I'm in a good mood. Sure I'm happy.
But if someone irritates me - if I don't get my way - if I didn't get enough sleep - if a task takes twice as long as I expected it to...
I'm upset. Frustrated. Restless. Disappointed.
And notice that each of these things is the exact opposite of joy.
The common definition of joy is intense happiness. It's more than happiness. It flies far beyond happiness. It's like the never ending flow of water that comes from a mountain stream, always refreshing others, and never running dry.
And God wants to establish this fountain of joy in each of our hearts! I believe that every Christian is capable of not only have a constant joy in our hearts, but also bringing constant joy to everyone we meet.
But even more than that - God not only gives joy, but
He is our joy.
He is my joy.
Is that not incredible to think about?!
Psalm 43:4 "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy..."
I think a more complete, in depth definition of joy would quite simply be this:
Anybody can be happy. Even broken - hearted mothers and rebellious teenagers and drunken, homeless men can be happy for short periods of time. But I believe that joy is reserved for those who have the Lord. Only God can give joy, because only God is joy.
I love my Lord because He is my joy.
Psalm 16:11 "In Thy presence is fullness of joy..."