Temporary Happiness, Permanent Joy

Happiness comes when things go your way; joy flows despite things not going your way.

Happiness comes when circumstances are favorable; joy comes regardless of circumstances.

Happiness is fleeting and based on emotion; joy is permanent and not based on emotions.

Happiness is a never-ending pursuit; joy is a never-ending rest.

Happiness comes from natural, tangible sources; joy comes from supernatural, intangible sources.

Happiness comes when you are loved; joy comes when you love others.

Happiness feeds the soul; joy feeds the spirit.

Happiness is in finding what pleases you; joy is in finding what pleases another.

Happiness is a goal; joy is a gift.

Happiness can be earned and strived for; joy cannot be earned.

Happiness is a personal quest with diminishing returns; joy is a selfless quest that is ever-growing.

Happiness can come at the expense of another; joy comes as we pour ourselves into another.

Happiness is temporary; joy is permanent.

I often marvel at how joy can be effervescent in a person whose circumstances look bleak and how joyless a person can be in spite of great blessing.  How many times have we seen a person in a wheelchair just beaming, and a wealthy, healthy person just plain miserable?  What is the difference?  The difference is knowing that there is more to life than what we can physically see; the difference is in the spiritual wisdom that all that is seen is temporary and all that is unseen is eternal; the difference is knowing that you are unconditionally loved and can’t earn that love; and the difference is whether you know the eternal or whether you know only of the finite.  The main point here is that we can only see the outside of a person and cannot see into the depths of their spirit.  I like the Switchfoot lyric, “…these skin and bones are a rental, and no one makes it out alive…”  So we have to ask ourselves, “Are we permanently tied to joyful hope or are we just along for the temporary ride of life?”

Having an eternal hope and knowing that you are truly and unconditionally loved by God is the conduit for joy.  As Christians, we should understand that sharing the gospel is in essence sharing the hope and joy of the message of Christ.  We must always remember what the Bible tells us:  “It is the GOODNESS of God that brings a person to repentance”.  One of the main resounding themes of Christ’s message was the impartation of eternal joy!  Let us not forget that the “good news” should always be just that…incredibly profound GOOD NEWS.  And the angels when they appeared before the shepherds in the field said that they were there to proclaim “good tidings of GREAT JOY to ALL PEOPLE”…

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