Jan 26, 2023
If you could count happiness in dollar bills, how rich do you think you would be this very moment? This is obviuosly a hypothetical question but the fact remains, there is a hypothetical answer for each of us. And I'm sure we could all say, it depends on the day. I get that. No one day will be the same. For every day we live, we will have different circumstances, different obstacles, and a different perspective.
So how is it even possible to to measure our happiness? How can we know the wealth of our happiness? First, I think we have to know what happiness really is. What does it mean to be happy? What does it look or feel like? How do we know we are happy? And if we're not, how do we obtain happiness? and second, what does God say about it? Does He even promise us happiness?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, happiness is the feeling of being pleased or happy. The definition of "feeling" is a fact of feeling something physical. Pleased means happy or satisfied. So, it is basically a physical feeling of satisfaction. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Happiness is a feeling expressed outwardly. And it comes and goes, depending on our circumstances. We can be influenced to be happy or unhappy depending on factors surrounding us. If we are around someone who is laughing, we can also start laughing. Picture yourself in a crowd, at football game or an event. If your team is winning, you...along with the crowd, can be happy. If your team is losing, you and the crowd around you can be unhappy. Happiness and unhappiness and be contagious. It can be imitated and expressed outwardly. And I believe happiness is a choice. It's a choice because it can be dictated by oiur emotions of the moment we are in. Not only is it a choice, but it can be material based. We are always searching for that next thing to bring us happiness.That new car. A bigger house. A better job. We choose what makes us happy and sometimes, it's never enough. So we continue looking for that person, place or thing to make us happy. Sadly, it's not found in material things because there will always be something better. We will always want to upgrade. And, finding happiness in someone else is not the answer because we are imperfect people. We have flaws and sooner or later, that happiness will be lost when that person let's you down. Don't get me wrong. Happiness is a good thing. It's one of the many emotions God has created us to feel. I can't imagine not having a sense of happiness and feeling a smile across my face. Happiness is a good feeling. But that's my point. It's a feeling.
So, what do we do when we realize momey, people, places and things can't buy happiness? We look inward. Where do we find true meaning of happiness? Something deeper? Something reliable no matter what our life circumstances may be. That would be this thing called joy.
According to the very same dictionary, joy is defined as great happiness. I respectfully disagree. I believe the two are completely different. Happiness and joy are not dependant on one another. Happiness doesn't bring joy nor does joy come from happiness.
Miriam Webster defines joy as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or by good fortune, or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. Author and minister, Rick Warren, says this about joy: " Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise God in every situation."
I can definitely relate to Rick Warren's idea of joy. For me, my spiritual joy can not be lost and can not be taken. It is deep within me that no one else can take or remove unless I allow it. And allowing that to happen is a choice.
There's a video that went viral and it's posted on YouTube that I absolutely love. You might have seen it. It's a preschool class singing during their church program. They are singing to the song by Zack Williams called -Old Church Choir-and the chorus goes like this:
There's revival, and it's spreading like a wildfire in my heart. A Sunday morning, Hallelujah and it's lasting all week long. Can you hear it? Can you feel it? It's the rhythm of a gospel song. Oh, once you choose you...you can't lose it. There ain't nothing, there ain't gonna steal my joy. I got an old church choir singing in my soul. I've got a swwet salvation and it's beautiful. I've got a heart overflowing 'cause I've been restored. There ain't nothing gonna steal my joy. No, there ain't nothing gonna steal my joy.
If you watch her in the video, she's outwardly expressing the joy I'm talking about. She's confident. She's strong. She's visibly enjoying life and not worrying about anything. She definitely stand out among her classmates. Not that I'm saying anything negativeabout their outward expression but I am saying that the other children just don't seem to be enjoying it the way she is. She seems to be the only one who gets it. She hears it. She feels it. Sings it and expressing the words and the music. It's real and authentic. No faking your way through it.
Romans 14:17 says,
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteous, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Both joy and happiness are mentioned in the Bible. Both can be and are a positive emotion. The difference between the two is that happiness can come and go depending on our circumstances, people, places and things. But joy. Joy is not dependant pn anything. It is a gift from God.
Galations 5:22 reads,
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Joy is a blessing from God. Happiness is also from God and it is a true blessing to be happy. But the happiness that comes from the wolrd is fleeting. Temporary. God given joy, on the other hand, is eternal. It is happiness and contentment all wrapped up in a huge bow that cannot be taken away because it is ours to keep unconditonally.
So the question we can ask ourselves is...Are we happy or are we joyful? And what is it based on?
If JOY were to be a priority and vital part of your life...what changes do you think it might take to allow it to exist?
May the God of hopefill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.
Until next week. Trust your journey. Trust the change, and trust God to see you through.