It had been awhile since the ladies in the above photo had seen each other and the get together was indeed a happy occasion. Auntie, nieces, daughter-inlaw…happiness filled the day.
Merriam Webster Online defines “happy” as…
: feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.
: showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment
: pleased or glad about a particular situation, event, etc.
And they define “joy” as…
: a feeling of great happiness
: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
: success in doing, finding, or getting something
Which for the most part ignores, or has lost, the scriptural meaning and impact of the word. I prefer Rick Warren’s definition of 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.
Through the study of the Scripture, I have reached the conclusion that happiness is a feeling and natural, based on external events or stimulus while joy, in the words of Kay Warren, is a choice.
Happiness can flip on a dime, while joy is deeply imbedded in our soul. It is bestowed in us by our Father and the more time we spend with Him the more it grows.
In the book of Phillipians…When Paul was in prison awaiting execution, I seriously doubt he had much to be happy about and yet he had joy. In just 4 chapters, he used the word 16 times.
If we hold fast to the truth of Scripture, joy fuels our hope and strengthens our power, in the midst of chaos…
Romans 15:13(AMP) May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.
When we focus on Christ, instead of the distraction of our circumstances or the negative influence of others, His joy is fulfilled in us…
John 17:13(ESV) But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
And it allows us to tap into the peace that passes all understanding when in turmoil…
Phillipians 4:7(AMP) And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
And that my friends is not “positive thinking”…It is a necessity.
Phillipians 4:8(NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
May we find the “noblest pleasure” of joy in our understanding of Him.