March 29, 2016
“Happiness in not necessarily joy.”
What makes you happy? What fills you with joy? Can you be truly happy if there’s no joy in your life? When I think about my own life, I find that most things that make me “happy” are temporary in nature while the things that fill my life with joy are lasting.
It’s easy though to confuse the two. I’m happy that I’m financially secure, that I have a job that I love, that I have a nice home and, if I’m honest, I have far too many “things” I thought I needed but made me happy at the time I bought them. If I think about what brings me joy I think of my wife, my children, my grandchildren and especially my God.
Far too often, we earnestly seek things to make us happy and miss out on the joy that’s easily found. If “things” really made us happy, we wouldn’t spend so much time looking for that next thing to make us happy again.
I wouldn’t have a house full of “things” that I now wonder where I’ll put them. I don’t throw them away because they have a physical value, so I store them up until there’s nowhere else to put them.
How many have you said, “We need to get rid of some of this junk!” Junk now, but when you bought it, it made you happy – right? So where’s the lasting value; where’s the joy?
You wouldn’t say the same thing about your wife or children or grandchildren though – right? Because those “things” bring you joy. See the difference?
I am reminded of Paul when he was imprisoned. He wrote in a letter to the Philippians of his joy in remembering them “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
I suspect that Paul wasn’t very happy in prison, but he could still find joy in the knowledge of his Savior. Paul counted everything he had in life as garbage when compared to the joy he found in Jesus.
So, what are you searching for in your life? What makes you happy? I wonder what would happen if we spent as much time seeking the joy of knowing Jesus as we did seeking material things to make us happy?
God tells us in Colossians 3 “Set your eyes on things above.” And again in Matthew 6 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”