We look all over trying to have a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. We seek out delight in this world, but again and again we come up short. Temporary pleasures fade away. As we reach out for joy, we grasp glimpses of happiness that always fall short, unless we get to the source of joy itself.
The Psalmist got it! He understood that the source of our joy is God. Without God, you don’t have joy. You have something that might feel good for a while, might make you happy for a moment, but it passes. Circumstances and situations do not take away true joy, because through all the highs and lows of life, God is still present and you find your contentment in life in Him. Every time you depend upon something for joy, you will see it pass by at some point. People, feelings, situations—these things continue to change.
Today, praise the Lord, the source of joy. Ask Him to help you build your life upon His foundation. Let Him move freely in your life. Put your hope in Him. The fruit of joy will grow stronger in your life, and this with be contagious. Praise Him! He is the source of all your joy!
“There I will go to the altar of God, to God–the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!” – Psalm 43:4-5 [NLT]
Does God want you to be happy? That is a question we could spend a lot of time considering. Does God want YOU to be happy? We often hear people say God wants you to be happy. But when you look at the Bible and try to find this idea of God wanting His children to be happy, there is a disconnect. Why? The issue is in the word “happy.” The word is talking about an emotion, a temporary emotion.
Being happy is something that happens for a moment, sometimes shorter or longer than others. This is a small thing. It is great to be happy. I love being happy. But it does not take much time before the emotions change. God wants us to have joy. This is different. This is better than being happy. We get so fixated on our thinking and we cannot understand the bigger, greater thoughts of God. But we can see in His Word that He speaks of this joy we can have—this joy that is greater than a happiness that comes and goes based on circumstances.
Joy is something we can only experience through Jesus Christ. We read in 1 Peter that this is a “glorious, inexpressible joy.” We also know that this joy is something that no one can take from us (John 16:22). It is not based on circumstances. It is not something that changes; it remains. Isaiah 35:15 speaks of the glory of Zion, and the everlasting joy which will crown our heads. Today, rather than seeking out temporary happiness, instead, reach out for He Who offers us inexpressible joy, peace beyond understanding, and everlasting love. Why settle for happiness?
“You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” – 1 Peter 1:8 [NLT]
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” – John 16:22 [NLT]
Everyone seeks pleasure. We all desire pleasure. There is an addiction to thrills that I am sure we each have dealt with at one time or another. We want to have fun. We want to have a good time. We love the rush. It makes us feel good; however, that pleasure goes away. It never lasts.
As much as we try to be satisfied by pleasure, it is a short time of happiness. It goes away quickly and we feel empty. Think of the great vacation plans and the joy felt in a beautiful environment, the peace felt relaxing on the beach or in a cabin. It is fun while it lasts but eventually you go back to work. Consider the thrill of a roller coaster ride, and then how quick the ride is over. The thrill never lasts.
We cannot get our fill of thrills because they so quickly pass. The void is then there. The only way to truly have pleasure in life, the only way to find satisfaction, is to have a relationship with Christ. With Christ, your life is never empty. With Christ, you are fully satisfied. With Christ, the void is filled. You can spend your entire life trying to achieve a lasting pleasure, trying to fill the void in your life and to be happy, but you will never truly be satisfied in life if Christ is not part of it.
“You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life!
The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.”
-Proverbs 21:17 [MSG]
When I took Max for a walk, I noticed a cicada sitting on the sidewalk. I saw Max looking in the direction of the cicada and told him to let it alone. Max decided instead to look more closely at the cicada. The cicada made the familiar noise it is known for and Max jumped in the air in fear.
Max did not listen to me though I told him not to look further. I told him it was bad. He did not listen. Instead, he continued to look at the cicada and got even closer to it, allowing it to touch and frighten him. This reminded me of how we find ourselves not listening to God’s Word and the Spirit’s promptings, and instead we decide to continue down a path we were not supposed to travel. We do not realize the harm until we are up against the cicada.
Today consider what God is saying to you and trust Him when He is telling you not to do something. God is not watching to stop us from having joy and happiness in life. He wants us to have joy and happiness and so much more. He is not trying to prohibit us but to enable us.
“God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” – Psalm 18:30 [NLT]
As I entered the hotel with the remaining items from the car, I heard the rattling of my dog’s tags. My children had accidentally left him sneak pass them when entering the hotel room and he was out searching for his mom. He was in a strange place and he wanted only to be with his mom, for she was his master.
In this same way, we are to seek the Lord. We should be wandering around to find Him at all times. The thing is we don’t have to wander around to find Him. If we reach out to Him, He will do the same. We have been given His Word and we have the opportunity to also have His Spirit. There is no need to wander around trying to find God. He’s right here. We simply need to have the desire.
Many people spend years of their lives wandering around the earth in search of something. Many times they don’t even know what they are searching for at all to fill a void, or they may call it “love,” or “success” or “a future” or “happiness.” There are many words I could list, but each one points to God. What are you seeking for today? No matter what it is, it can only be found through God. There’s no need to wander any longer. Take the time right now to reach out to God—He will reach back.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8