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We all want to be happy and find what makes us joyful, but many people go about this the wrong way. The world tells us it has the things we need, but it can fail us miserably at the worst possible time. True joy doesn’t come from anything we could buy, any friendships we could foster, or any self-help book we could read. We find everlasting joy only in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Joy differs from happiness in that happiness comes from how we feel, whereas joy comes from what we know. Studying God’s Word teaches us how much He loves us and wants only the best for us. The world looks for joy in emotions, but we can find true joy when we least expect it. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17, 18, NLT ). We can choose to be joyful even in the face of adversity.
We can find joy in our surroundings when we remember who made them. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3, 4, NIV ). God did this for our benefit, out of His love for us. He wants to have a deep, loving relationship with us. Entering into a union with God is nothing like any earthly relationship, but it moves us into a position to receive joy from Him.
The more we meditate and ponder on the Scriptures, the more we learn about the nature of Jesus, and the deeper our relationship with Him becomes. The deeper our relationship with Christ, the more joy we discover. This joy isn’t just on the surface; it’s deep and permanent, and it can’t be taken away. It influences our entire perspective on life, and it affects how we live each day. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
Others may have negative mindsets but, as free moral agents, we don’t have to think like everyone else. Joy is completely attainable, but we must remember where it comes from. “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:2, 3, NIV ). Fleeting emotions come and go, but joy is a by-product of our relationship with Jesus.
When we get to know God, we discover that His will is for us to enjoy life. He doesn’t want us to be miserable, stressed, fearful, or full of anxiety. When we learn to trust in Him, we find a peace of mind that accompanies the joy He gives us, even in the worst of situations. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). This is definitely something the world doesn’t have.
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