Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

The dictionary's definition of joy is this: intense gladness, a cause of this.
What produces intense gladness in you? I think the key phrase here is intense. (very strong, concentrated; strained to the utmost, strenuous; marked by much action, strong emotions, etc.)
There are a lot of things in our lives that make us happy. (lucky; possessing or enjoying pleasure or good; pleased) Happiness can be found in the simple things in life. But somehow, happiness seems to be shallow. It has no depth. I can be happy one moment and very sad the next. But the intense gladness I experience in Jesus has substance. It has depth. It doesn't fleetingly go away. It is truely joy! I don't find this in many things. Joy is reserved for the deeper things in life. Happiness is found in tangible things: puppies, a good meal, a nice car, a new toy, but joy is found in the intangible: relationships, experiences, and the spiritual realm.
You can't have sadness and happiness at the same time. They are the opposites. But you can be very sad and experinece joy at the same time. My family and grandchildren bring me joy.
Happiness is fleeting....but joy is eternal.
In this new year...don't strive to be happy. Don't chase after the happiness that can be found for a fleeting moment in the material things. Seek for the eternal substance that is found in JOY. Momentary happiness will lead you down the wrong path. It will rob you of something so much better. It will try to substitute itself for the best. Seek for the real deal. The joy of the Lord is YOUR strength.

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