Is there a difference? Or are they the same?
I have learned through the years that happiness and joy are two very different things.
For happiness comes and goes. It is based upon circumstance and feelings.
Whereas, joy comes from the Lord!!
On the plane on the way to Nepal, we met some seasoned missionaries to Thailand. As we talked I asked the wife, if she had any advice to offer, what would it be.
She looked at me and said, “The joy of the Lord has to be your strength.”
I have thought on this so much in the past months as we have worked to settle ourselves into a new culture and a new way of life.
Some days are hard, some days the frustrations of life here with dust, drivers, limited electricity etc. can grate on you.
And it is on such days, that I have to find my joy in the Lord.
Paul tells the believers again and again in his letters, to,“rejoice in the Lord.”
In Phil. 3, he says, “Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice. I do not mind saying it again and again. For it is a safeguard for you.”
When I want my kids to know something, I repeat it again and again. I think this was true of Paul. He knew that this command from the Lord was important. It is a must in the Christian life.
Then Paul tells us why? He says that rejoicing in the Lord is a safeguard for us.
How does rejoicing in the Lord, provide us with a safeguard and a safeguard from what?
Back in Phil. 2 Paul tells us to do everything without grumbling or complaining.
Now he tells us to rejoice in the Lord. Two contrast.
I have found that grumbling comes easy, it comes naturally and it feeds the flesh.
Complaining however, expresses to God and to all around you that you are not content. That you aren’t satisfied.
And it is in fact, a sin. It is what we should not do. For this sin leads us downward. It leads those around us down as well.
Yet, rejoicing keeps our mind and hearts set upon the Lord.
Thus it is a safeguard to us. For if our minds and hearts are set upon the Lord, we will be content in Christ. We will be satisfied in Him.
However, I have found one thing to be tried and true.
Rejoicing in the Lord is a daily choice I must make.
That no mater what happens, no matter my circumstance or how I feel that day. I will choose joy.
I will choose to rejoice in the Lord.
So we have a choice daily. We can grumble and complain about our problems or how we feel.
Or we can choose instead to rejoice in the Lord and to give thanks for all He has done.
And if you’re wondering, what has the Lord done for me lately.
Then let me tell you.
He has set you free from sin and death. He has redeemed you. Forigven you. Made you righteous in Christ. Through Christ you have access to the throne room of grace. Jesus is your peace with God. You have a spiritual inheritance from the Lord. You have been adopted into the family of God. Sealed with the Holy Spirit.
And the list goes on.
We all have reason to rejoice, let us then choose daily to find our joy in Christ.