What is your definition of joy?
The title of this devotion is of course a question. For many people they equate joy as being the same thing as happiness. In reality, being happy is something that is more superficial and emotionally driven. Whereas joy is a much deeper feeling that we, as human beings, are able to experience in our lives.
How can this be shown in a more practical way? How many times have you been in a situation which did not make you feel very happy? When the certain situation passed, or was taken care of, did a feeling of relief/happiness enter into your emotions? What happens when we face those difficult times and sadness or sorrow seem to overtake all other feelings, is there no room for hope or joy?
As Christians, we can have joy in the most tragic of circumstances because we are able to cling to something beyond this earthly realm that gives us hope in the face of tragedy. In Jesus, we can experience a joy that surpasses all human understanding. The world cannot, nor ever will be able to, offer this kind of pure joy. The things in this world that we believe can make us feel happy or sad will soon fleet away. The only things that will last beyond this world is eternal death (bringing with it forever sadness and suffering) and eternal life (bringing with it everlasting joy and glory).
Do not be fooled by those things which seem to bring you happiness in this world, for in the end they may bring about a very sad and devastating outcome. Look to the foundation of all joy, the one who made a way for you to have a joy-filled ending that will be beyond your wildest imagination. Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. If Jesus can be joyful in suffering and dying for you and me, what amazing joy awaits us when we are finally able to be forever with Him, the joy giver! Pastor McCarty