Do you know the untold secret of lasting JOY?
You want to be happy.
I want to be happy.
Everyone wants to be happy.
Pizza with extra cheese makes us happy. A trip after months of labor makes us happy. A great movie makes us happy. Wearing new shoes makes us happy. We feel a rush of good feelings. We feel motivated. Even on top of the world.
We sleep on it and it is a new day. Happiness has left the building. That feeling is no longer there, to spur us on. So we eat some more junk at the cost of our health, shop online at the cost of more debts, and binge watch at the cost of sleep. We have to keep doing this over and over again to sustain the happy feeling.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, even going after it once in a while.
But do you need the jolt of happiness constantly? Do you go to lengths to feel a certain way? That is where our alarm bells need to go off.
We got it all wrong in the first place!
It’s not happiness that we seek, but lasting joy. Because you see, Joy is the missing link our souls crave.
The Webster dictionary defines Joy as a “state of happiness”. Unlike ‘Happy’ that comes and goes, ‘Joy’ stays. It’s a constant place of ‘being’ inside ourselves.
Things go wrong at work, joy stays.
Kids behaving poorly, joy stays.
The world seems to have lost its balance, we still have lasting joy.
Joy won’t up and leave when the situation outside isn’t ideal. It helps you see the rainbow through the clouds. Joy won’t tempt you to make stupid decisions you will later regret. That’s what we really want, isn’t it?
So how do we get there?
The Bible counts Joy as one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23). That is to say that, when you lead a life rooted in the Spirit, one of the outcomes will be a constant state of joy, regardless of the circumstances around you.
Imagine that you have planted a fruit-bearing plant in your house. You watered and nurtured it for months in the hopes of seeing a harvest. One day you see a small fruit has finally sprouted. What do you do then? You keep watch over it until it’s ready to be picked up. You will keep a check for anything that might harm that little fruit be it birds, or humans. You won’t take it lightly anymore now that you have seen it with your own eyes.
What do we have to do for lasting joy?
That’s what we have to do with the joy that we receive from Jesus (John 15:10-12). He has given us His joy to live in us. But we have to guard it and nurture it. Guard your heart against negative thoughts. Get rid of all past hurts that drag you down. Take captive every thought that is not from heaven. Learn to bring it to submission. Fix our minds on things of God.
Don’t fall prey to comparisons. Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Focus on your journey of joy that lasts. Remind yourself of your achievements. Practice gratitude.
Does lasting joy mean we won’t go through sadness?
No, sadness is as much a part of life as happiness is. But being joyful simply means that when sadness fills our heart, and life becomes overwhelming, it won’t have the final say over us. We won’t be taken under. Our soul will rejoice in the hope of Christ even when it’s hopeless all around.
Apostles Paul talks about joy a lot. For a man who spent a good amount of time in prison and being persecuted, I think we can take him at his word. In James 1:2, we read
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”bible.com
Apostle Paul demonstrates joy being prevalent even in the most turbulent times of his life. The biggest take away from his journey in the Lord is that when you learn to look at hard times as a privilege of this life with Jesus, lasting joy never leaves your side.
We are called to be joyful. Not happy, mind you, but full of joy.
I don’t know anyone who was always happy, but I do know people who have experienced unceasing joy.
I am getting there and hope you do too!
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If you have something to share with me about joy please do leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.