I’ve heard it said that, unlike happiness, Christian joy has nothing to do with our circumstances. Makes sense right? Jesus both assured us we would have trouble in the world (John 16:33) and promised us that no one would take away our joy (John 16:22).
Difficult circumstances and lasting joy. So surely, Christian joy has nothing to do with our circumstances. Circumstantial “happiness” and lasting joy have to be different. Right?
But wait just a second… when I looked up the meaning for the Hebrew and Greek words most often translated as “joy” they have essentially the same meaning as “happiness.” Biblical joy can be defined this way:
Joy, gladness, pleasure, happiness; the opposite of grief and sorrow; feelings that result from circumstances
The difference in fleeting joy/happiness and the joy no one can take away is the circumstances on which we base it. If we look to our temporary, earthly circumstances for joy, it will be stolen from us time and again. But if we rely on our eternal circumstances, our joy will be firm and secure.
3 Circumstances for Lasting Joy
Although I know my list could be longer, here are three reasons for lasting joy God gives us in His Word:
- Salvation (1 Peter 1:5-9) – Peter beautifully shows how rejoicing in our eternal salvation far outweighs the grief of our temporary earthly trials. In the midst of our trials we are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
- God’s Love (Romans 8:35-39) – Paul experienced great hardships and persecutions in this life. In spite of these things he experienced the joy of Christ (Philippians 1:18). How? No matter what he suffered, nothing could separate him from the love of God.
- Intimate Fellowship with Christ (John 15:5-11) – On the night He was betrayed and arrested, Jesus wanted to make sure His followers knew how to find their joy in Him. As we “abide” in Christ – stay closely and vitally connected to Him in obedient relationship – our joy will “be complete.”
Are you experiencing this kind of joy? You can! Read these Scripture passages and ask God to show you how to find joy in your eternal circumstances!
What other “reasons for joy” do you see in Scripture? Let’s share them with each other today!