Spiritually Speaking: Joy Unspeakable

"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee." Psalms 5:11

They say a smile is the most attractive accessory anyone can wear.

So, seeing how today is National Smile Power Day, I thought it only fitting to expound on that thought.

There really is something powerful, almost magical, about a genuine smile. But it wasn't until recently that I realized how rare an authentic grin really is.

As proclaimed Christians, we really should stand out as overall joyful people.

But how can we always be joyful, isn't that setting the bar a little high? What does having joy or being happy really mean, anyway?

I'm glad you asked.

While the words happiness and joy are synonymous, there is a vast difference between the two which you may be able to identify from their definitions:

Joy: ...the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight;

Happy: showing pleasure or contentment; delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky...
 
Taken in Norway en route to Trollstigen
In short, joy is a constant source from within us, while happiness is a changeable state based on outward circumstances.

Happiness can be temporary and tenuous. This state of mind can and does change according to how our days play out and what we allow to bring us down.

Joy, on the other hand, is rooted much deeper; the definition says it creates the countenance of happiness.

Joy is something intrinsic--it is assurance in our souls that we are in God's hands. It keeps us balanced and gives us perspective; it keeps us moving forward when situations aren't necessarily happy.

Habakkuk 3:18 "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

Through the balancing act we all have to keep up between the cares of life and walking with God, it can be so easy to lose sight of what is immediately important.

When we do, it isn't long before we lose passion and zeal for those things too.

While we have to fight our way through this life sometimes, and a lot of what we deal with and observe is ugly, there is an element of peace hidden in our souls that allows us to withstand it all with smiles of assurance.

There are sorrows in this life, that is certain. None of us can escape them; good and bad happen to both good and bad people.

However, for the children of God, Psalm 126:5 promises "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."

Although many still vainly and fruitlessly attempt it, joy cannot be found in gaining wealth; it is not a respecter of certain social classes and statuses either.

The poorest person by the world's standards could be the richest person by spiritual standards if he or she has a hope anchored in the Lord.

Isaiah 29:19 (ESV) "The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel."

As followers of Christ and His Word, we can guarantee our enemy has his target set on us. John 10:10 deems him a thief who only wants to rob us of the abundance of God's love. Close to the top of his list of ways to influence and destroy us is to steal our joy of serving the Lord.

Acts 13:52 (KJV) states, "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."

Notice, possessing true joy and being filled with God's Spirit are one and the same. Just as scripture explains that joy is a fruit of the Spirit.

If our hearts are consumed with the thoughts of Jesus and with His very presence, no fears or trials are going to permanently hold back those positive vibes.

When we have Him, we have all we need, just as John 15:11 reminds us, "...that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
Small geyser in Yellowstone Natl Park

When it's all been said and done, all we will leave this earth with is our character--our inner being.

I don't know about you but I want to say that while I was here I left a bit of joy everywhere I went, with every person I met.

I would hate for my testimony to be marred by a bitter attitude that I carried around.

I want to walk through those gates knowing I gave my best effort to keep my chin up, a song in my heart, and praise on my lips.

Isaiah 35:10 (ESV) "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

We have so much to look forward to.

Once we've served our allotted time here on earth, Jesus has promised wonders untold for us to enjoy on the other side.

He paid the ultimate price for us to abide there with Him. If that isn't proof enough that His kingdom is of greater value, and so worth every bit of temporary pain and heartache we have to endure in this earthly realm, I can't imagine what else would be.

Luke 6:23 "Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven..."

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