Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 2 (Joy and Happiness)

23 Apr

How would you distinguish between JOY and HAPPINESS? For many people, they are the same. But “deep joy,” lasting joy, is more solid, more permanent, than the flitting feeling of giddiness sometimes bestowed by our stingy culture.

True, deep JOY goes beyond circumstances. It is deeper than the vicissitudes of life. [I knew that “vicissitudes” was a word, but I had to look up the spelling]. Vicissitudes are “successive, alternating, or changing phases or conditions, as of life or fortune; ups and downs.” JOY transcends the ups and downs of life.

But this kind of profound JOY is not the same as stoicism, a gritting-of-one’s-teeth to resignedly toughen out life. This kind of JOY recognizes life’s tragedies, catastrophes, and collapses, but remains steadfast and permanent and accessible.

Why is this so? Let me suggest it is because this kind of JOY is focused on the Person of the Lord Jesus. It is not primarily found in salvation, although that is certainly an aspect of this JOY. It is not located essentially in the good circumstances of this life, although one is grateful for God’s providential kindnesses. No, this kind of steady JOY is inextricably connected to the Lord of glory Himself — and that makes all the difference. HE never changes — and the fluctuation of feelings of happiness aren’t the foundation of the believer’s life. As John Piper says in his short little book God Is the Gospel, “When you trusted Christ, you got GOD!”

C.S. Lewis eloquently hit the proverbial nail on the head when he wrote: “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

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Posted by on April 23, 2019 in joy


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