When Joy Belongs To You—Hold On for The Ride!

When we are depressed, angry, hurt, anxious, or disappointed—rather than blame others—we must consider whether WE are the reason we’ve lost our joy. It’s easier to blame other people or circumstances; however, if we are born again, we DO have a choice about whether to enjoy the gift of joy which is given to each of God’s children. 

But understand, “joy” is MUCH different from “happiness.”

Happiness is based upon our circumstances and it waxes and wanes.

Joy is the great comfort and complete satisfaction we possess in a close relationship with God.

Joy springs from a relationship with God. When we are born again—we are at peace with WHO we are, WHY we are here, and HOW to live—whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events. We ride a rollercoaster of unhealthy emotions when we are controlled by people and circumstances! Joy is not based upon circumstances or people—it’s based upon our unchanging, unshakable GOD.

Just to reiterate,“joy” is not a state of perpetual giggling and laughter. No, it’s a deep, unchanging satisfaction that comes from our regenerated soul and spirit which are alive in Christ. 

Happiness is temporal; joy is spiritual.

Joy” is our smile on the inside!

God’s joy is “inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1 Peter‬ ‭1:8) HIS joy is “our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) Jesus said that in HIM “our joy will be full.” (John 16:24) These are promises from GOD. He does not lie. Thus, when the tsunami’s of life begin to suck us into negative emotions—if we have developed the mind of Christ—HE gives us the power to change the way we think about our situation—like me right now—sitting on the tarmac in the sun with no A/C for an hour waiting for a mechanic to fix a problem with our plane so we can take off. 

So how do we own our joy in any circumstances? 

Well, Jesus told us exactly how to do this and it’s really no different than what is written in the Old Testament. God commanded us to have “no other gods beside Him” (Exodus 20:2) and Jesus said to “love Him with ALL our heart, soul and mind” (Matthew 22:37) To love anything else more than God—is sin. It separates us from God; and thus, separates us from our only source of unwavering joy. Our greatest joy does not come from our relative degree of comfort. 

To get to this place where God is our greatest source of joy, we must reorder our loves. Jesus must be the one we love most. Anything less, sets us up for disappointment. You see, we all experience waves of intermittent happiness and we ride that wave until it crashes into the surf and then we immediately begin looking for the next one. We live for surfing those waves of happiness. We are desperate to avoid anything and anyone who will interfere with our smooth ride. 

But joy doesn’t depend on finding the next great wave because it comes from the One who created the entire ocean. 

Jesus shouldn’t be our last resort for a problem; rather, He should be our first response. To develop this first-responder attitude, we must passionately pursue our relationship with Him instead of dedicating our time and energy to the pursuit of happiness. My friend Nikki Snyder observed, “the more we pursue happiness the more anxious we become.” This is because nothing we attain keeps us happy for long. We always need more because we were not created to be satisfied by the things of this world. We were created to be satisfied by God.  Another friend, Jess Richards, described joy as “finding inner peace.” 

When God is the center of our life and our greatest motivation for living, we possess consistent joy. Our joy is based upon our relationship with God, Who IS LOVE. He never changes. NO change in our circumstances will EVER separate us from Him! Paul wrote:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ‭‭

Romans 8:35, 37-39

If you want to experience the greatest joy; pursue Jesus. 

Make Him the center of all you do. Make Him your greatest love and you will find yourself in the midst of a love that gives you far more than it ever takes. God is FOR you more than YOU are for you. He gave more for you than you can imagine. When you keep Him at the center of your life, He gives you “all things” which includes JOY!

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us ALL things?” 

Romans 8:31-32

‭‬‬“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” ‭‭

Psalms 16:11

We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.

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