Friday, July 27, 2007

Happiness Vs Joy

My personal definition for "happiness" and "joy" are very different. In a nutshell, I define "happiness" as a a emotion feeling of well-being and contentment, which is affected by external circumstances. Mostly from shallowly things such as enjoying good food, or for me, being able to eat without interruption from my children.

I think most people would define "joy" as something like "really happy by something more meaningful" such as having a good relationship with our families, or being able to help someone in need. But for me I believe true and lasting joy can only comes from God. And it would not waver due to any change of circumstances, because God is the only one sure thing that never change.

Our delight in God, His attributes and His promises are what gives us everlasting joy. When Paul was in prison, I'd bet he's not happy about it. Yet his letter to the Philippians, written in prison, is full of joy. The words "joy" or "rejoice" are used fourteen times!

John Piper, an gifted preacher and writer, wrote "...only God can create joy in God. This is why the old saints not only pursued joy but prayed for it..." How true! My prayer, to quote Mr. Piper's book When I Don't Desire God, is this:

"And thus give them more joy than all the gladness that the world can give. And by this joy in Jesus Christ, fit them to love and serve and sacrifice. And by this joy, with which they bear their cross, Lord, cause the earth to know what you are truly worth."

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