Yesterday I sat down in church, emotionally worn and thoroughly distracted by the little baby sleeping beside my chair. I was ready to listen, and boy was there something for me to hear! As soon as our pastor mentioned that his sermon was on joy, I knew that the message was meant for me. I hadn’t been that joyful over the weekend. In fact, I’d been near tears more than once. I was totally consumed with myself, my imperfections, and on everything in general that wasn’t right in my little world. My eyes were turned toward myself, instead of directed up toward my Savior.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).
We all have happy and unhappy times in this life. I often let me emotions rule during these times, and allow them to affect how I ultimately act on a certain day. I’m sure this is a normal way to react. If a cell-phone company messes up my bill, my pants don’t fit, or my daughter is unusually grumpy, I then tend to be in a bad mood for the rest of that day. This bad mood spills out onto the rest of my family and friends as well. That’s a problem to be sure.
But here’s what my pastor reminded me of yesterday: happiness is different then joy. I can be joyful even on days when I’m not exactly happy. Happiness comes from my emotions; joy comes from my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Joy is a gift given to us as Christians. It’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
I’ve experienced unexplainable joy during some of the darkest parts of my life. Joy from my Savior is part of what’s carried me through those toughest times, in fact.
And so, today, even though I might not be feeling all that happy, I claim that wonderful gift of joy once again. For I need it in my life today and everyday.
Does your joy depend on your circumstances or your Savior?
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NIV).