Joy Beyond Happiness (Advent Part 3)

The Constitution declares that every person has the right to pursue happiness. What is happiness, though? If you're U2, happiness is a warm gun. Happiness is only a temporary feeling. Happiness is a fleeting emotion. It is here today and gone tomorrow, or even later today.

Happiness often depends largely upon outside sources. I experience happiness when I get a day off of work. I experience happiness when people do nice things for me. I experience happiness when anything good happens to me. That happiness quickly disappears when something bad happens. Where is my happiness when someone disrespects me? Or when someone cuts me off in traffic? Where is my happiness when I feel bad? Happiness doesn't last very long.

Joy, on the other hand, goes beyond simple happiness. Happiness relies on outside influences. Joy comes from within. When the Holy Spirit indwells us, He brings a joy that surpasses happiness. Life is not all sunshine and happiness, and it shouldn't be. Without the bad, we don't appreciate the good. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time for weeping and a time for laughing.

Joy is a mindset that we can have in the midst of sorrow. It is a transcendent frame of mind that we can have with the Holy Spirit because we know that our God transcends all sorrow on this earth. He came down to this earth and experienced every kind of sorrow that we could possibly experience, and then He conquered it all. Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, rejoice.”

We should not ignore the bad aspects of life. We can learn a lot from them. Job, in all his pain and suffering, even commented, “Shall we receive good from God and not, and shall we not receive evil.” We can’t let circumstances control us in a negative way. Know that God is above all, good and bad. If He is for us, then it doesn't matter what is against us. If nothing more, that is an extremely comforting thought.

Read part 1 here.

Read part 2 here.

Read part 4 here.