Happy Birthday to me and my twin sister! Last year I posted some pictures of us when we were cute…You can see them here.
Anyway, last night I spoke to the fifth and sixth graders at my church about joy. Sometimes God just takes hold of me as I speak and shakes me hard. Last night He did that.
I asked the kids about the difference between joy and happiness. We discussed how happiness relies on circumstances or feelings. Those things are unstable and labile (I didn’t use the word labile last night, but let’s go with it). Not to mention that our heart (where our feelings come from) lies to us (Jeremiah 17:9). So we can’t even trust our emotions at all.
Joy however is a fruit of the Spirit so it comes from God. God is unchanging and good. Not only that, but since joy is a fruit it grows and multiplies over time. It does however require cultivation (another word I did not use) to grow – the cultivation of a relationship with God. Spending time in His word, praying, going to church, singing praises were all ways to cultivate joy.
Then I asked the kids if they would like to stake their life goal on happiness that comes and goes on a whim or if they would make the goal of their life joy in the Lord that has the potential of unlimited growth.
I didn’t plan the whole staking your life goal idea at all. God just spoke it out of me, but it got me thinking. Am I staking my life on joy (is my main goal in life to cultivate and count all things joy) or am I like a junkie looking for a quick happiness fix? All too often I look for happiness to fulfill and sustain me when joy is there for the taking – real true joy that doesn’t go away when circumstances are difficult.
Joy founded in an unchanging, able, loving, God who has plans for us, redeems all things to make them beautiful, and sent His Son to die for us so we could spend eternity with Him. So why waste our time on happiness when joy is the real thing?
What ways do you cultivate joy in your life?