Monday, December 3, 2012

Think On These Things: Joy

Is joy the same as happiness? I think not. There are times we use the two synonymously. But it seems to me that joy is the deeper of the two. There are times when we can and should joy or rejoice while we are having trials and troubles. During such times we are not delighted or happy that we are having a hard time. But we have a deep settled peace that all is well between us and God despite our present plight in life. In other words, we can have joy in our souls even when we are not happy about our circumstances.

The New Testament epistle of Philippians has been accurately called the epistle of joy. In the book different forms of the words joy and rejoice appear eighteen times. “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice” is the theme of the book the apostle Paul wrote while he was in prison for preaching the gospel. He was well aware of his situation and that of those to whom he wrote but still said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). The Old Testament prophet Nehemiah was led of God to remind the Israelites of old that the Lord God’s joy was their strength (Neh. 8:10).

It is Christmas time! One of the most popular Christmas carols is “Joy to the World.” The message of that beautiful carol is the reminder that no matter what God allows to happen to us or His world, we need to truly rejoice that Christ came and died in our place.