Can’t I Just Be Happy?!

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NLT)

“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” (Psalm 28:7 NLT)

Am I the only person in the world who gets tired of the “Cult of Happiness” who universally proclaims every chance they can: “I just want to be happy!”  It’s almost impossible to find the word “happy” in scripture…hmmmmm.  We find words like “blessed” regularly, but that is usually attached to pretty non-happy things.  Similarly, the word “joy” is threaded throughout scripture, many times directly connected to difficult circumstances.  For example, the two verses that led this conversation above: Paul was “full of joy” writing Philippians from a prison cell floor; David was “filled with joy” in the middle of great personal turmoil.

Happiness comes from the same root word as “happenings”.  As long as my happenings are good, I can be happy.  Joy is obviously different…in fact, it could be argued, opposite.  How does inner peace produce joy in the hardest of things?  Is scripture just wacky when it boldly says:

…when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)

Over our last few times together, we’ve explored what it takes to experience lasting change. Our Biblical formula: “RE”.  When a struggle brought us to RECOGNITION that it was bigger than our ability to change it; We became so sick of it, REJECTING it as unacceptable, yet realizing that being sorry was not enough to change anything; Choosing to own our sin as wrong and with confession and seeking God’s forgiveness, we REPENTED, God “wiping our slates clean” and giving us a fresh start;  Then with a fresh, clean heart beginning to learn how to REPLACE our behavior with His Life, not our trying harder.

There’s nothing that produces more satisfaction than a win.  We fought through and finally won!  I always failed here, but now I don’t! He promised to help me and He did! This used to control me and now I’m finding freedom.  I was always unhappy but now I experience joy.  God’s righteous replacement in me is beginning to show itself…and it feels good!  Our 5th Re – REJOICE!

“…I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever…But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.” (Psalm 73:23-26,28 NLT)

The joy of the Lord is our strength!  How is joy that powerful? We’ll work through the entire Re cycle of change when we conclude this series next time.

U r Gr8!

by Dave Galbraith, BreakThrough Moments

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