DN Joy Versus Happiness 2/2/2007
- From: Peter G. Chase <pchase1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 00:02:19 -0500
Joy Versus Happiness
"Rejoice in the Lord" (Phil. 3:1).
Happiness is related to circumstances; joy is a gift from God.
Not long ago it was common to see bumper stickers proclaiming every
conceivable source for happiness. One said, "Happiness is being
married." Another countered, "Happiness is being single." One cynical
sticker read, "Happiness is impossible!"
For most people happiness is possible but it's also fickle, shallow,
and fleeting. As the word itself implies, happiness is associated
with happenings, happenstance, luck, and fortune. If circumstances
are favorable, you're happy. If not, you're unhappy.
Christian joy, however, is directly related to God and is the firm
confidence that all is well, regardless of your circumstances.
In Philippians 3:1 Paul says, "Rejoice in the Lord." The Lord is both
the source and object of Christian joy. Knowing Him brings joy that
transcends temporal circumstances. Obeying Him brings peace and
Joy is God's gift to every believer. It is the fruit that His Spirit
produces within you (Gal. 5:22) from the moment you receive the
gospel (John 15:11). It increases as you study and obey God's Word (1
Even severe trials needn't rob your joy. James 1:2 says you should be
joyful when you encounter various trials because trials produce
spiritual endurance and maturity. They also prove that your faith is
genuine, and a proven faith is the source of great joy (1 Pet.
You live in a world corrupted by sin. But your hope is in a living
God, not a dying world. He is able to keep you from stumbling and
make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy
(Jude 24). That's your assurance of future glory and eternal joy!
Until that time, don't neglect His Word, despise trials, or lose
sight of your eternal reward. They are key ingredients of your
Suggestions for Prayer:
Thank the Lord for any difficult circumstances you might be facing.
Ask Him for continued grace to see them through His perspective and
not lose heart (Gal. 6:9). Be aware of any sinful attitudes or
actions on your part that might diminish your joy. Confess them
For Further Study:
Read Acts 16:11-40.
What difficulties did Paul and Silas face in founding the Philippian
church? How did God use their difficulties for His glory?
Drawing Near, Copyright 1993 John F. MacArthur, Jr.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
the fruit of the Spirit is ... joy
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and
that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:4
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials
1 Pet. 1:6-9
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if
need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than
gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to
praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet
believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present
you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we
shall reap if we do not lose heart.
11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to
Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis,
12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that
part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for
13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside,
where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the
women who met there.
14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of
purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened
her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us,
saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my
house and stay." So she persuaded us.
16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl
possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters
much profit by fortune-telling.
17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men
are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of
18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned
and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to
come out of her." And he came out that very hour.
19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they
seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the
20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, "These men,
being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;
21 "and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being
Romans, to receive or observe."
22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the
magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten
23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into
prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison
and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to
God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of
the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and
everyone's chains were loosed.
27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the
prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword
and was about to kill himself.
28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm,
for we are all here."
29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling
before Paul and Silas.
30 And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be
31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be
saved, you and your household."
32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were
in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their
stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before
them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying,
"Let those men go."
36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying,
"The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and
go in peace."
37 But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us openly, uncondemned
Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out
secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out."
38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they
were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.
39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and
asked them to depart from the city.
40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia;
and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and
These devotions are posted with permission from John MacArthur's
first (1993) devotional work, _Drawing Near_, and they are also sent
out daily for free to several folks via e-mail.
In addition, John's second (1997) devotional, _Strength for Today_,
is also available free via e-mail only. _Strength for Today_ follows
the same format as what you have seen here from _Drawing Near_, but
with different monthly themes.
If you would like to receive daily devotions via e-mail from either
of these series, just let me know (via e-mail), and I will gladly add
you to the list(s) of your choice.
You can hear John MacArthur daily via the Internet by visiting:
You may email John MacArthur in care of Grace to You at:
NOTE for those of you reading via newsgroups: If you wish to reach
me, please contact me via e-mail for quickest results.
Peter G. Chase :: Columbus, Ohio, USA
STOP! Who do you think Jesus is?
To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner was you. -Alistair Begg
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