Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Defining Joy

There’s a lot of confusion between joy and happiness. We may use the terms interchangeably but they are not the same. At times they may look alike and may show up at the same time and at the same place, but there are times they simply don’t belong together. Joy can show up in places where happiness just seems inappropriate. James said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you experience the tough times in life required for you to grow as a believer and expand your understanding of how big God is.” (James 1:2 loosely paraphrased)

Tough times are not typically happy times. But since joy and happiness are not the same thing, you can still have joy when you can’t be happy. I may not like what I’m going through but I can embrace my circumstances as a opportunity to see the goodness of God in my behalf. How?

  • By finding my Joy Spot
  • By realizing God is accomplishing a work in my life
  • By anticipating the results
  • By expressing my thanks to God for taking the time to refine my life
  • By allowing this moment to bless me

The farmer is never closer to the land than when he is breaking it up for planting. Land that has lain dormant from past years is too hard for seeding. It’s a wasteland until the farmer gets out the disk and plows it back to usefulness.

That plowing is violent and brutal but essential for the next phase of planting and the ultimate reward of next season’s crops. The ground isn’t happy to be plowed but submits, anticipating the joy of harvest.

Joy is the warmth of an inner peace that comes when we realize God is accomplishing His purposes in our lives. It is a by-product of trust that we experience when we’re not being distracted by what’s actually going on at the moment.

Question: During what phase of the trial is it hardest to “consider it joy?” Comments?

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