Though some people use the terms happiness and joy interchangeably, there is a vast difference in their meaning. Both cause a pleasant emotional response, but the former relies entirely upon circumstances. As soon as difficulty arises and pain intrudes, a person ceases to be happy. On the other hand, joy is a gift from God that enables believers to find hope and peace – even when life seemingly falls apart.
At times, however, even Christians live joylessly. Sinful behavior, of course, is one reason. But there can be other causes, too, including regret about past failures, fear of future mishaps, or a pattern of discontentment that’s ingrained in one’s personality.
If you’re a follower of Jesus but lack gladness, take a moment to remember who Christ is and who you are in Him. To begin with, you are saved eternally, and your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The love of almighty God is unconditional, and His indwelling Spirit will never abandon you. He understands everything you face and promises to provide for your needs.
When you stop to consider the blessings that are yours in Christ, gratitude will likely overwhelm you. Sadness concerning circumstances may still endure, but the joy of the Lord will carry you through even the deepest pain.
Amid the ups and downs of life, does God’s joy sustain you? Or do trials leave you hopeless and discontented? Our Father offers a higher way of living – not without pain but with strength to endure. Continually remember the vast treasure you have in Him and His promises.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 20, 2018.
Learning to see obstacles as opportunities takes time.
Recalling certain truths can help our perspective:
GOD IS AT WORK. As barriers remain in place and our situation seems unchanged, God is orchestrating people and events to move His plan forward. He works silently, invisibly, and effectively.
GOD PREPARES THE WAY. He has already decided in His mind which hindrances to remove and which to leave unaltered. For the obstacles that remain, the Lord will arrange a way around them or fit them into His plan. What He has determined will be accomplished.
GOD REQUIRES OUR COOPERATION. He wants us to be ready to face difficult situations. Through His Word, He communicates what we need to know and also equips us (Hebrews 13:20-21).
GOD IS PERSONALLY INVOLVED. He wants to develop in us a greater sensitivity to His presence. Through Scripture, prayer, and other believers, we can receive the assurance that the Lord is near.
GOD GIVES CLEAR INSTRUCTION. He does not bring confusion. Whether we receive His direction in stages or all at once, He asks us to trust in Him rather than our own thinking (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Facing challenges involves courage, patience, and faith. It takes courage to accept the presence of barriers, to move in step with God, and to do what He asks. Patience is required as we wait for Him to equip us and reveal His plan. Faith is necessary for us to trust God with the outcome and to focus on obeying Him.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, August 15, 2017.
Sinners who seek forgiveness will be accepted into God’s kingdom, while those who think they’re too good to sin will not be accepted.
Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional NT, May 31. Tyndale House Publishers. (2003)