5/18/06

Joy vs. Happiness

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ~Psalm 16:11

I just finished my Bible reading for today, and found this verse. It's definitely one I'll have to copy and memorize so that I can keep it in mind for those worriful (did I just make up another word?) moments in life.

I like it because it completely reinforces what I was trying to remind myself the other day about our move, decision regarding re-enlistment, etc... as much as we like to think that we are in charge of things, we're not -- God is. Once we realize that He has control, and submit to His leading for our lives, we can stop worrying. We can be certain that He will show us His path because He is faithful to His Word.

Another reason I like this verse is that it reminds us of the promise we can claim when following Christ. Just like my friend said when she was talking to her ladies group -- in life there are two roads: one of panic and one of promise.

God is sovereign, yet He has given every person a free-will -- meaning we have to decide which road we will take. This verse is our "map" to the pathway of pleasure. It's a promise that once we choose to submit to His will, we will have joy.

Our pastor always says that there is a difference between joy and happiness.

Happiness is an emotion; it's temporary and is based on circumstances.

Joy is much more than that; it comes from a strong, steady relationship with the Lord, and is taken away only when one fails to trust in Christ's promises. When we trust in His promises, we are given a peace that the lost and unbelievers can't possibly understand.

Even though we can't always be happy, we can always have joy...
I love that.

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