“Be joyful always” 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
First, there’s a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is more dependant on circumstances while joy is a fruit of the spirit that we grow in.
While those whose citizenship is here are wrapped up in the never-ceasing ‘pursuit of happiness’ that leads them down the road to Self, sensuality, and stuff, those whose citizenship is in heaven know the love God has for us in not even sparing his own Son to save us and promising to answer our prayers.
We can be unhappy, then, while still filled with joy.
That was our situation last year as both Lori and Timothy fought cancer. Life may have been filled with the day by day trials, but God was good–always! And so joy abounded. That’s why we can have joy even in the midst of great trials–always!
If some of us have joy hanging from our limbs as shriveled fruit, it is because we have perhaps forgotten what God has done, fixed our eyes on the seen, love Self more than others, or have drifted away from truth. To grow in the fruit of joy, we must recapture the newness, re-fix our eyes on Jesus, renew our love for others, and recommit to truth.
Are you growing in the fruit of joy?
Plattsburgh church of Christ
author of Kin of Cain
a Christian historical fantasy