You Can Experience Joy In Unhappiness
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4
When you think of Jesus, do you think of a serious and somber man, who faced trials and torture? If you actually read the Bible, you’ll see that it’s clear in scripture that many people were drawn to Jesus’ presence during His life. “Jesus,” writes Sherwood Eliot Wirt, “was a man of such joy, such merriment, such gladness of spirit, such freedom and openness, that He was irresistible.”
Joy, and enjoyment and rejoicing, should be our birthright as God’s children. Joy is a natural consequence of connection with God, as Jesus Himself showed. Joy is full of healing and power (Nehemiah 8:10) that results from God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us. In fact, joy is a fruit of the Spirit, meaning the presence of the Holy Spirit in us ought to produce joy (Galatians 5:22).
In truth of course, not everything we experience feels like cause for joy; there is a time for mourning. Joy is bigger and deeper than happiness, however as happiness is dependent on circumstances like health or our environment. Joy isn’t simply happiness on steroids, as we often imagine it. Joy transcends circumstance and even emotions because it is a recognition of God’s goodness. That’s why is Jesus was characterized by joy and why we should express joy in our daily lives. Remember, we can have joy even when we’re not happy! As you tune in to the goodness of God in your life, experiment with using the words “joyful” or “rejoicing” to describe yourself!
Resource reading: Philippians 4:1-13
Wirt, Sherwood Eliot. “Jesus Man of Joy.” Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House Publishers, 1999.