Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Joy vs Happiness

Conversations that occur at the lunch table at work are interesting most days. Recently the conversation took a little bit of a serious turn while discussing how much excess we Americans have in comparison to other countries. I couldn't tell you how we arrived at this subject, but many different opinions were expressed and discussed.

And I gained knowledge and insight about a couple of my co-workers.

Like I said, I don't know exactly how we got onto this subject, but when we dug into it, true hearts were revealed, and it broke my heart a little because these people are like my 2nd family, and some I consider friends.

I do my best to live my life openly as a Christ follower. Ask anybody that I work with and they could testify to this. So when discussing the economy and being afraid of the government and what is happening and doing all the "I wish it would get better", "If we had a better leader", yada, yada, nonsense, I pretty much stand firm that:
A) It is not going to get better in this lifetime,
B) God holds my life-He knew when I would be born, He knows when I will die, and He knows everything that will happen in between, and
C) I try to not focus on all of the bad and instead keep focused on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. (Phil 4:8)

So, back to the lunch table conversation: it came around to the subject of happiness. Someone had mentioned that although we don't "need" everything that we have, if we didn't have it, then we would simply not be happy anymore.

This is just not true...if you are a True Christian...truly Saved and truly following Christ.
I have seen people with anything and everything they ever thought they desired and they are still the most miserable people to be around;

EVERYTHING is still just NOT ENOUGH to satisfy them.

I've felt that way too. I would be lying if I didn't fess up to that right here and now. And I still throw a temper tantrum every now and again when I don't get what I want---which I slap a mask over so that I can make it look like something I need, and in turn justify all my complaining. Yeah...I've done that. I think we all have.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I look at those people that have the bare minimum and who seem "happy" with less. I've been there too. Back when my husband and I were first married and barely made enough to pay our bills each month. Those were the days when a trip to Wal-Mart and Taco Bell on pay day was a treat! But I look back there and think we were, in some ways, happier than we are now that we have much more.

But it isn't about "happiness". It is about JOY.

And our joy comes from Jesus. It comes from seeking His face and digging into His Word.
True Joy is knowing HIM! Talking to HIM! Being in His presence!

And when we know Him, we aren't worried with what we don't have or what the world is coming to. We know what the world will eventually come to...and that's HIM!

So in this conversation, I openly expressed this knowledge-yes, it is my opinion-but I know it to be true. My resources you ask?

Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Job 33:26 "then that person can pray to God and find favor with Him, they will see God's face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being."

Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."

Psalm 16:11 "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

Psalm 19:8 "The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes."

Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Oh my goodness there are hundreds of references...hundreds of scriptures to confirm that
JOY COMES FROM THE LORD!

But that is incomprehensible for the non-believer...and for those who claim to believe but don't , when this subject comes up, what they truly believe is revealed. I don't argue with them; I share my belief, I share the Truth and pray that God works through my testimony. I can't change them-only God can and if it is His will, then He will!

And as uncomfortable as these conversations can be, I praise Him for the opportunity to share the Gospel and glorify Him! Afterall, that is why He keeps me here. There is Kingdom work for me here, not just business work. And I am FULL OF JOY to be used of God in this place.

I'll take JOY in the LORD
over happiness from the world
any day of the week!


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