"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Psalms 16:11)
We are all striving for happiness in this life. We all love to laugh and have a good time but we soon realize that life cannot be happy all of the time. So what are we missing? How can we be happy all the time? The answer is, you can't. However, you can have joy all the time! There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is an emotion and is based on the circumstances around you. Joy is only from God and through his Holy Spirit we can have joy all the time!
Its not bad to want happiness! We do have to be careful where we derive our happiness from, but we also do not need to feel depressed if we are not happy. You cannot be happy all of the time and the opposite of happiness is sadness. Therefore, logically if you are not happy all of the time, you must be sad some of the time. However if you have true joy, it is not based on circumstances. Because joy is from God and we can be joyful in the good times and the bad.
Just because we have joy does not mean we will not face trials. We will have problems. But instead of joy having an opposite reaction, like sadness, it brings peace to comfort us during the times of trial. Through that peace we can have understanding that God is working out everything for our good and He is in control. That is pure joy my friend. Have you ever met someone who has gone through so many trials yet they still praise God and seem to have a positive attitude? They have joy! If you notice they may not be happy, but they have a sense of peace about them! That is a joy that can only come from God because there is no logical way that the person going through the trial could be positive and at peace, yet they are. Oh my friend, I want this kind of joy to dwell within me everyday!
Scripture says, "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8-9) Because we love God and have faith, we are filled with an inexpressible joy. I love the word inexpressible! Our joy from God is so wonderful that we cannot even find a way to express it! We cannot explain it but it can most definitely been seen by others! Beth Moore in her bible study, Living Beyond Yourself, said "Our joy makes us soul-winners! Beloved, the world is frantically searching for true chara (joy). If all they want is 'happiness,' which is an affirmative response to externals, then why can't they ever seem to achieve satisfaction? People are searching for a joy which comes from the inside. And if you've got it, you can be sure people will be asking you how they can get it! When someone asks the reason for the hope they observe in you, be ready with an answer. Joy keepers are soul-winners!" What better way to be a witness than being joyful! People will easily begin to recognize that you have more than just happiness and will want it too! I want to be a joy keeper! I must come to terms that nothing in this world will make me truly satisfied. Hear me out, NOTHING! Just look at Solomon who had all wisdom, tons of money, and hundreds of wives and in the end he realized that it was worth nothing without God (just read Ecclesiastes). No amount of money, intelligence, or a marriage can make you truly satisfied. Only God's love and out pouring of His joy can truly satisfy you! Let God make you into a joy keeper my friend, and see what He will do!