220. Kingdom culture of joy.
What is the difference between Joy and Happiness? Joy is an inner feeling of the heart whereas happiness is an outward expression of the soul. Joy is long-lasting, whereas happiness is momentary. Joy is more profound ( a state or emotion very great or intense) than happiness because joy is the fruit of the Spirit ( Galatians 5:26), whereas happiness is a temporal ( relating to worldly as opposed to spiritual; secular) state of mind. Joy isn’t the byproduct of happiness, rather joy produces happiness! We tend to find happiness from the activities we do and the things we possess but true happiness is as a result of joy in our hearts. In short, Joy is by choice whereas happiness is by chance.
It is the culture of the kingdom of God to be joyful because where there is peace, there is joy. How can we be joyful when there is no peace? But when we have made peace with God and with men, why shouldn't we be joyful? The early Church was known to be joyful, even in the face of persecution. 'Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publically exposed to insult and persecution ... and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.' ( Hebrews 10:32-34) Their joy was despite having no money or possessions but modern day believers have everything, except joy! Surely, we can testify about the righteousness we have by faith and the peace we experience, but joy seems to be absent, probably because we never took the effort to cultivate the fruit of joy (Galatians 5:22) Or if we have lost it, we ought to pray like David, saying, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation." (Psalm 51:12) Joy doesn't come from material possessions but from the knowledge of 'better and lasting possessions' laid up in heaven for us. How else can the psalmist say: "You have filled me with greater joy than when grain and new wine abound." ( Psalm 4:7) What else did Paul possess while in prison, from where he exhorted the Church in Philippi to rejoice? For he wrote: 'Finally my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again and again and it is a safeguard for you.' ( Philippians 3:1) Why does he insist on joy, if is not the culture of the kingdom of God? What is interesting is that the King has given us his righteousness, peace and joy. He wants everyone to obey his commands so that his joy may be in them. " If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love ... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11) The disciples were filled with joy when they witnessed the most astounding event in history; when after his resurrection, 'Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you. After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.' ( John 20:19-20) The reason for this overwhelming joy was his resurrection from the dead. It proved that God can take the darkest moment in history and turn it into good; that God is stronger than death and there is nothing powerful enough to stamp out our reason for joy. We do rejoice in the power of God but the fact that our names are written in the Lamb's book of life is the real reason for our indestructible joy. "Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20) Therefore, 'rejoice in the Lord always. I will say to it again: Rejoice' ( Philippians 4:4) for 'the joy of the Lord is our strength.' ( Nehemiah 8:10) Amen.