One of my goals is to be happy as much as possible. I hate being sad. I don’t like sad movies. I will probably never read Where the Red Fern Grows again. One reason Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors is that her books have happy endings. But joy goes a little deeper than that.
There’s nothing wrong with being happy. Proverbs 15:13 says, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” The problem is that happiness is a temporary emotion.
Hap – one’s luck or lot; an occurrence, happening, or accident
Some people are more likely to be happy because it takes less to make them happy, but it’s still up to the chance of circumstances. Let’s say my husband and I are driving home, joking with each other like we usually do, and I’m in a good mood. I’m happy. But when I open the front door, I see the destruction caused by our cats. It’s happened. That’s yarn in the picture. It went around the living room furniture, between the dining room chairs, into the kitchen, and back again. And as hard as I tried, I couldn’t unwind it without cutting it. I would love to have a video of how they did it.
Do you see what happened? My circumstances changed, and my emotion changed with it. That’s how joy is different. It’s not flighty like happiness. It doesn’t have anything to do with chance or what the dog chewed up in the 30 seconds you turned your back.
There are several Greek words that are translated as joy. One is “chara”, which Strong’s defines as “cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness.”
This is like a level above happiness. If being happy is winning the three-legged race at school field day, joy is winning the 500 meter dash in the Olympics. If happiness is getting a Christmas present, then joy is seeing a child’s face glow when you give them a present and they thought they would get nothing.
“Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9
Happiness doesn’t have the depth joy does because it depends on what’s outside us. Joy comes from inside us and is based on God. During this series, we’ll be talking about some of the things that can try to take our joy, how to hold on to it, how to find it, and how to share it.
If you have any questions or something you’d like us to talk about, let me know and I’ll do what I can!
May the Lord bless and keep you,
2 thoughts on “Chasing Joy – Part 1: What is joy?”