According to the dictionary, joy and happiness are almost
Since Christians live in the English-speaking world, they are
largely influenced by the world’s definitions. The cover story in the most
recent issue* of National Geographic
Magazine is “The Search for Happiness.” The subtitle is, “What we can learn
from Costa Rica, Denmark, and Singapore—the most joyful places on the planet.”
In each of these “happiest” places, the government has provided
for people’s salaries, living, healthcare, and other physical provisions
through high taxes. In other words, “happiness” is not having any
responsibilities to be anxious about.
That is the world’s view. There is a biblical solution to
anxiety which is entirely different, and which the world cannot understand. It
is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control. These words are in the world’s vocabulary, but anybody who is
not a Christian cannot have any of them as part of his life. If they have them,
it is with a different definition.
The joy the Christian receives has nothing to do with entertainment
or recreation. It is based on his relationship and fellowship with God, based
upon his sins being forgiven.
Non-Christians cannot have this joy or love or peace. They are
only given by the Holy Spirit. Christians can experience them, but many don’t
because they disobey God and do not confess their disobedience in order to be
forgiven and have joy again.
There is a sequence of obedience that sets you free from
pray continually, give thanks in all
circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess.
in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!… Do not be anxious about
anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in
Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:4, 6-7)
If you are thanking God in all circumstances,
you are also rejoicing in the Lord always. If you are rejoicing in the Lord
always, you are anxious for nothing, and the peace of God guards your heart.
The non-Christian who desires this state must
settle for the world’s solution or call upon the Lord for salvation.
The reason the world thinks joy and happiness
are the same is they think that they are both feelings based upon
circumstances. Joy in the Bible is only based upon relationship and fellowship
with God because of the forgiveness of sins. Besides being there because of
fellowship, joy should be expressed by obeying the command.
*Written November 2017.