Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are You Happy or Joyful?

I've been thinking a lot about Joyfulness this week, partly because that was the topic of our Ladies'
Bible Study lesson on Sunday, and partly because this week has brought chilly, rainy, dreary weather to our normally sun-soaked area, a nasty stomach virus to a daughter, a cancelled picnic in the park, and a disappointing change of plans to sons, all of which have cast a gray shadow over our normally sunny home.

So, I have been rehearsing the many truths which were shared on Sunday:

  • Joy is an attitude, not an emotion.
  • Joy is an outward response to an inward relationship with God.
  • Joy originates with our salvation.  (Luke 10:17-21, Psalm 21:1, Psalm 35:9)
  • Joy is nurtured in the presence of the Lord.  (Psalm 16:11)
  • Joy is watered by time in the Word.  (John 15:11, 1 John 1:4)
  • Joy will be visible to the world around us.  (Psalm 95:1-2, Luke 6:23)
  • Joy is found in serving others.  (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
  • Joy is created out of sorrow.  (Psalm 30:5, John 16:20)
  • Joy is perfected in tribulation.  (James 1:2, 2 Corinthians 7:4)
  • Joy is our strength.  (Nehemiah 8:10)

You know how it is after you are taught important truths -- a test is right around the corner!   It seems we are rarely ready when that "pop quiz" comes!  So, I decided I needed some extra studying!  ;)

First, I looked up the verses which we studied in class, and then I looked up the definition of Joyfulness in my Power for True Success book:

Joyfulness vs. Self-Pity

"Joyfulness is the bright spirit and radiant countenance that come by being in full fellowship with the Lord."

I am reminded of the cheery sunflower, which always turns its face towards the sun.

"Joy is the component that, when added to a trial, provides the strength to endure it." 

"For the joy of the Lord is your strength."  -- Nehemiah 8:10

I was also reminded of this blog post that perfectly illustrates how Joy comes through serving others.  I read it again, even though I have never forgotten it since my first reading.  Such a woman who is able to so completely die to self and spend her days . . . her life . . . serving others with such joy is simply unforgettable. 

"Who among us can be counted on for happiness?  It is those who never take self into consideration."  -- Amy Carmichael

Then, quite unexpectedly, I unearthed this treasure on the difference between happiness and joy:

“If happiness is gained through service to others and in living your life in a way that is pleasing to God, then it is a noble thing. However, happiness is not an end in itself; but you will notice that many people treat it as such. The search for happiness as an ultimate good appeals to, and cultivates, supreme selfishness in the heart. It shuts out affections, tramples on the most sacred rights of others, and often fills families with great pain.” -- Karen Santorum in Everyday Graces.

Many people believe they have the "right" to pursue happiness at all costs, even if their choices damage or destroy the lives of others.  Obviously, this is the antithesis of Biblical Joy.

"Joy is proof to the world that God can fully satisfy the human heart."

"In thy presence is fullness of joy: and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." -- Psalm 16:11

What about you?  Do you have the Joy of the Lord in your life?  Or do you struggle with Joy? 

"Joy is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ." -- William Vander Hoven


Susan said...

Thank you,Elizabeth! What wonderful thoughts and truths! In a world that seeks happiness and personal fulfillment, may we as daughtes of the King, find true, fulfilling joy in knowing Him and serving others! Thank you for encouraging us today!

Whiddon Family said...

What a wonderful reminder to find our joy in the Lord! I know we so many times look to things, and worldly pleasures, but truly, it only makes our void deeper. May we always look to Christ to fulfill us! Thank you so much for sharing.

A (long) time ago, y'all had brought us a meal, and you'd made some kinda chocolate chip zucchini bread. All I can remember is it was the best in the world. But I have searched the internet up and down for it, but to no avail. Do y'all happen to still have this recipe?
Thank you so much!

Love in Christ,

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