Beyond Happiness and On to Joy

joyI’ll never forget what the waitress said to me, even though it was about 20 years ago. I was seated at the counter at a Bob Evans restaurant, working on something or other having to do with the church and ministry. She poured me some more coffee and said, “You look so sad.”

Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with being honest about our feelings, and there’s good reasons to be sad, to be frustrated, and to grieve. Being happy about or unaffected by pain and suffering, the loss of a job or health, a hurting relationship (ours or someone else’s), and dealing with death or other conditions of this fallen world would mean that we’re not in touch with reality. But I still think about the waitress’s observation of me.

The fact is that joy is meant to be a part of the experience of a person who’s serious about God and is a follower of Jesus Christ. There are more words for joy in the Hebrew language (the language of the Old Testament) than in almost any other language. Greek, the language of the New Testament, has several words for joy, too.

Joy is, in some measure, a choice. Here are some ways I choose to have joy:

I seek to find joy in God’s WORLD. I look around and observe the wonder of His creation. There’s beauty all around, and it can help prompt joy in me.

I seek to find joy in God’s WORD. I’m amazed at how often a portion of scripture can prompt a more peaceful, positive, and joyful attitude in me.

I seek to find joy in God’s WORK. I remind myself of the ways God has worked in my life in the past.

I seek to find joy in God’s WILL. I certainly can’t find joy being outside His will! I want to think, speak, and act in such a way as to sense His pleasure.

This is a fallen and messed up world, and I have my own issues! You too? I may not always be happy about what’s happening, but I can have joy in Jesus! That’s the way I look at it.

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” (Acts 2:28, Psalm 16:11)

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