Do you know anyone joyful?
I know everyone acts happy at some point, but do you know anyone who is joyful? Someone who just seems to radiate joy with every word, smile, and action – even when their situation isn’t pleasant?
Several people come to my mind right away. The way they interact with others, the way they live their lives, the way they approach difficult situations…something about them is so magnetic. I feel very drawn to them, and long to be like them.
For the longest time, I used the words joy and happiness interchangeably. But lately I’ve been learning the difference between them. Happiness depends on external factors. It comes and goes with the pleasant situations in our lives. When hard times arrive (such as pandemics and isolation, for example), happiness vanishes.
Joy, however, is internal. It isn’t affected by the changes in our situations – even the most negative ones. It can be constant because of the constant Savior, and everything that He is and does for us. And the closer we become to Him, the greater our joy becomes.
Though it seems so contrary to a human mind, I’m trying to focus on growing my joy, not my happiness. It truly changes everything for me. When we’re not striving to be happy; achieve earthly goals or acquire material things, it takes so much pressure off our shoulders.
We don’t have to worry about the way the world is right now. Our Savior’s in control.
We don’t have to fret over what we’ll do if things get worse. Our Savior walks with us.
And we don’t have to despair over the loss of things we’ve grown accustomed to. Our Savior knows what’s best, and He’s working all things together for good. Better than we can ever imagine, in fact.
When we simply focus on growing closer to our Savior; knowing Him and obeying Him, joy just…happens. It blooms, grows, and thrives. And it becomes something that others notice. People are drawn to the peace and joy we have, like I’m drawn to the joyful people I know. It gives us a wonderful opportunity to be an example of Christ to a happiness-driven world.
I believe everyone out there understands, in some small way, that there is more to life than happiness. More than possessions or promotions. More than an endless struggle to stay on top of the curveballs thrown at us.
The human heart is meant to know joy. It’s meant to experience the fullness of joy that only Christ can provide. Apart from Him, fleeting happiness is the only option.
I long to know burning, indescribable joy. Joy that shines in every dark corner of my life. Joy that draws others closer to Jesus. I long to never be concerned by or caught up in the pursuit of happiness over joy, and never be derailed by earthly events.
So as the Christmas season comes closer, bringing a flood of reminders to be joyful, I’m going to try my best to do just that. I’m going to choose to pursue Jesus, and therefore, pursue joy. Not just during the holidays. But every day of every month through every year.
I hope you’ll join me. And I hope these quotes about joy will be as moving and helpful of reminders to you as they are to me.
1. “We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.”
2. “Begin to rejoice in the Lord, and your bones will flourish like an herb, and your cheeks will glow with the bloom of health and freshness. Worry, fear, distrust, care-all are poisonous! Joy is balm and healing, and if you will but rejoice, God will give power.”
(A. B. Simpson)
3. “Happiness is untested delight. Joy is delight tested.”
4. “Gratitude produces deep, abiding joy because we know that God is working in us, even through difficulties.”
5. “The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.”
(Dwight L. Moody)
6. “Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God.”
7. “Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.”
(S. D. Gordon)
8. “When our lives are filled with peace, faith and joy, people will want to know what we have.”
(Dr. David Jeremiah)
9. “There is no virtue in the Christian life which is not made radiant with joy; there is no circumstance and no occasion which is not illuminated with joy. A joyless life is not a Christian life, for joy is one constant recipe for Christian living.”
10. The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. ‘If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,’ Jesus said, ‘he will find his true self.’
We have so many reasons to be joyful and they can all be summed up in one word: Jesus. I pray you experience His joy and peace brighter than ever this holiday season.
Did any of these quotes speak to you today? Go ahead and let me know your favorites in the comments, as well as if there is a certain topic you’d like to see more quotes about. While you’re there, I’d love to hear about something YOU’RE learning about joy!
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 NIV)
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