Emotional happiness is like a rabbit. If you have ever observed one, you can relate to this story. Rabbits are fluffy and cute while they sit and munch on their food. Their outward appearance is content and happy. But, if they hear an unexpected noise they quickly change their demeanor. They hop high in the air and scatter to a safe place to hide.
Emotional happiness is dependent upon life events or surrounding circumstances. But, the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit is permanent. It doesn’t scatter because of trouble. Joy is a quality of God’s people, found while in His presence.
Lean into joy by embracing the goodness of Jesus no matter what your present circumstances may be. Let your joy come from the rock and the anchor of faith.
I choose a joy not centered on me. Following our own agenda and building earthly kingdoms may offer feelings of accomplishment, but not lasting joy. Building God’s Kingdom offers a special joy that can only be found in loving and serving others.
“So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brethren.” Acts 15:3, RSV
Positive thinking cannot bring lasting joy. Joy is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit within us. His joy is a character trait of a disciple of Christ. It is based on the Truth of God and on love.
“Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.” 1Peter 1:8 RSV
While joy is more than emotional happiness, we can train our emotions to follow the lead of true joy. It does no good to have the joy of the Lord, only to be an emotional curmudgeon. A happy heart refreshes my sense of joy. Laughter lightens my load and energizes me.
“A cheerful heart makes good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22, WEB
I choose joy, even during times of hardship. In every moment, I have peace knowing this test develops my ability to endure future hardships.
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3, RSV
Also published on Medium.