August 19, 2018
Achieving Joy in the Midst of Happiness
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Don’t worry; be happy. Most of us have heard the popular song on the radio. We all want to be happy, but we need to realize that being happy is temporary state. Many of us think that if we had more money, more friends, a better job, nicer clothes, a newer car, or whatever else we want, we would be happier. However, those things are passing and so is the happiness they bring. There is certainly nothing wrong with being happy when we achieve goals or get newer, better, or different stuff, but we must keep in mind that as circumstances change, our state of happiness will also change.
So then, what are we really looking for? How can we find the deep-down gut-level peace that we are seeking? This feeling is often referred to as JOY, which goes beyond happiness. Happiness is temporary; joy is lasting. Many scholars have given suggestions about how to achieve joy in our everyday lives.
1.Let go of grudges: The ideas of forgiveness and leaving vengeance up to God can be found in many places throughout the Old and New testaments. Levitical Law states, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18) Jesus also speaks of the necessity of forgiving each other and letting go of grudges – especially if we desire for God to dismiss our own sins.
2.Treat everyone with kindness: Jesus cautions, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12) God, through commands to his early followers and through his revelation in Christ, clearly values acts and attitudes of kindness and compassion. Believers are consistently instructed to give, respect, honor, and show humility toward those around us. Perhaps the best model for kindness would, of course, be God himself. Instead of allowing humanity to perish in sin, God pursued us throughout centuries, sent his Son to walk among us, and continues to offer salvation and reconciliation freely to all.
3.Regard problems as challenges: Truthfully, life is full of problems. And not all problems can be solved. We may not be happy about our circumstances, but we can still feel the contentment and joy that come from the Father. God gave us a spirit of power, love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) If we look at our problems more like challenges and remember that God is with us, we can still experience a peaceful joy in the midst of worldly chaos and at times when happiness fades.
Let us pray: Father, bring us the joy that we are seeking. Help us to love others as you have loved us and to be kind, caring, and forgiving. Thank you for the many, many blessings that we receive each day. Amen