ODJ: Happiness & Joy

April 3, 2016 

READ: 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything (v.10).

My wife, Merryn, and I spent last Christmas on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. With its snow—capped mountains and vivid landscape, it’s a truly beautiful place! One moment we drove through snowstorms, the next we saw double rainbows appear from end to end. To me, Mull is a place of fairytales.

Natural beauty makes me happy. So do long train rides, second—hand bookshops, and the giggles of a child. French crepes served with sugar and lemon make me happy, as well as cherries dipped in dark chocolate.

Scripture tells us that every good and perfect gift is from God, including things like sunshine, food, and happy moments (Matthew 5:45; James 1:17). But all these enjoyable things have one shared flaw—they’re temporary. The chocolate—dipped cherries are soon gone. Mull’s rainbows fade as quickly as they appear. What happiness can we find when these things leave or end, or when life is just plain difficult?

The apostle Paul found the answer. In the midst of being chased, beaten, slandered, and unjustly imprisoned—even when he was hungry, exhausted, and impoverished—he could say that he had “joy” (2 Corinthians 6:5—10). How? Because he knew that with God no pain is wasted (Romans 5:2—5). But even more significantly, his joy was sourced in the Holy Spirit who brings joy no matter the circumstances (Galatians 5:22—23). Happiness is often found in outside circumstances, but real joy flows from the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

So savor today’s moments of happiness—the tastes, the conversations, the sunlit valleys. They’re good gifts to be enjoyed. But find the fullness of joy in the One who can lift and comfort you even in the unhappiest of times.

—Sheridan Voysey

365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 5:1-12

Read Romans 15:13 and consider what Paul wrote about the origins of joy. 
Are you basing your happiness mainly on temporary things? How will you draw on the Holy Spirit to experience joy in Jesus today?