Written By Eddie Vines
Eddie Vines is a former Jefferson county Judge and currently serves as President of Faith Fortress Ministries
In the world, the two words “joy” and “happiness” are often used interchangeably but to understand what is meant by joy in light of Scripture helps us to understand the difference. Happiness is an emotional feeling that is dependent on circumstances. While the feeling of joy is akin to happiness, it is not based on circumstances but is founded upon an understanding of who Jesus is, who we are in him and the eternal security we know we have as a result of his sacrificial death on the cross.
If on his birthday a child doesn’t ’t get the gift he wants his happiness may suddenly turn to disappointment or even anger. In contrast, the believer who has the joy of the Lord abiding in him will not be easily shaken during times of trial. In Acts 5:40 & 41 we read where Peter and certain other apostles were dragged before the Jewish Sanhedrin and flogged for preaching the gospel. While it is reasonable to expect that these men who had just been cruelly punished would not have been happy, they did in fact, express joy. Scripture tells us that they immediately went out and rejoiced that they had been counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake.
In the first chapter of the book of 1 John the writer gives his personal testimony of Jesus’ Lordship and states that this account is being written so that the reader’s “joy may be full”.
It is in Jesus that we find true joy. All this world can offer is fleeting happiness which lasts but a moment. Joy is transcendent and deeply rooted in our anticipation of spending eternity with Jesus who loved us enough to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins. It is only in him that our joy can be full.