Unhappy Part 1: Made for Joy

You were made for joy!

If you’re feeling unhappy, there’s something more for you to enjoy in your spiritual life, because the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 clearly tells us that if we’re in Jesus, our lives will be marked by joy! So question 1: are you in Christ? If you don’t know, but want to be, contact me! If you are, it’s time to get real: a lot of Christians say that they have joy in the Lord, but if that’s true, someone should tell their face! There’s no such thing as Grumpy Cat Christians! William Barclay once wrote:

“We are chosen for Joy. However hard the Christian way, it is both in the travelling and in the goal, the way of joy. There is always a joy in doing the right thing. When we evade some duty or some task, when at last we set our hand to it, joy comes to us. The Christian is the person of joy. The Christian is the laughing cavalier of Christ. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothes and long faces.”


Joy and happiness

We are chosen for joy! But we also have to choose joy. In Kay Warren’s book Choose Joy because Happiness isn’t Enough, she defines joy like this:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all of the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

Good definition, but she doesn’t even use the word happiness there. And rightly so, because Biblically, they’re not the same thing.

We don’t want to go overboard though and act like joy has nothing to do with happiness. They’re not the same thing, but when a person is full of joy, they’re bound to be happy about it! Just a quick glance at the usage of the word “joy” in the Psalms finds it coupled with concepts like clapping of hands and shouts of joy and giving thanks, singing and partying! They go together, but joy is much deeper. Joy is the harvest and happiness is the feast. Joy is the deep well and happiness is the long cool drink. Happiness is the shining waves, but joy is the ocean. Happiness is the wedding, but joy is the marriage. So, if you’re feeling unjoyful, you’re not meant to be.

[tweetshare tweet=”Happiness is the shining waves, but joy is the ocean. Happiness is the wedding, but joy is the marriage.” username=”JRothwilson”]

God’s desire for you

The stories of the Old Testament show undeniably that God’s great desire for his people is that they would experience joy! And it’s also clear that joy happens when his people are engaged in life with him. Jeremiah said that he ate of God’s words and they were his joy and his delight. In Ezra it says that the Lord filled the people with joy by changing the King of Assyria’s attitude about assisting them in rebuilding the temple. When God’s people obeyed him and celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they were filled with joy. In Deuteronomy, God said that he would bless the Israelites’ harvest so that their joy would be complete. God wants people to experience joy and freely gives it as a reward for being involved in his plan. He wants what you want.

[tweetshare tweet=”God wants people to experience joy and freely gives it as a reward for being involved in his plan. He wants what you want.” username=”JRothwilson”]Take the first step toward becoming joyful today. Evaluate your beliefs. Do you really believe that, despite the circumstances of your life, God wants you to be joyful?

subscribe mail icon

2 thoughts on “Unhappy Part 1: Made for Joy

  1. Where does “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” come in to this? Or Jesus weeping? Or Jesus sweating like great drops of blood?

    1. Thank you jacfalcon for your question! And thank you for pointing out one of the paradoxes of Christ, who was at once a joyful person (See part 2 of this series) and who suffered immensely on our behalf. I think that from Jesus’ life we get to see a great example of how joy and suffering can actually co-exist whereas happiness and suffering don’t. I believe that even in the worst of times, when Jesus was clearly unhappy, that he still had a joy in his spirit that he was doing the will of his Father. We can have the same when we consider James 1:2 (which I bring out in part 3 of this series), where we’re commanded to consider it pure joy when we encounter various trials because of what they’re producing in us. Mysteriously joy and suffering can co-exist. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify jacfalcon!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close