Joy from Within
Polls and surveys consistently show that the top three things people want the most in life are love, happiness, and peace. So often we confuse happiness with joy. There is a difference.
Happiness is the result of getting what we want. We tell ourselves that we'll be happy when we get a newer home. Or life will be great if we get a promotion at work and a pay increase.
However, getting what we want only offers a temporary form of happiness that fades over time. We get our new home, and we are so happy until we realize that we, in order to remain happy, must have all the furniture and decorations to go with it. This kind of happiness is dependent on our circumstances, and can be accompanied with a fear that we may lose whatever it is we feel has made us happy.
Joy, however, is a fruit of the Spirit. It comes from within and not from external conditions. Jesus said that we are to abide in Him so that our joy can be complete (John 15:9-11). We can experience the joy of the Lord regardless of our circumstances because joy is dependent on our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul instructed the Philippians to rejoice always in the Lord (Philippians 4:4). While this group of believers was anxious about their material needs, Paul reminded them that their joy came from God. They were oppressed and persecuted by the Romans. They suffered economic hardships. Yet they had a reason to be joyful—their lives belonged to the Lord.
The world tries to persuade us that joy is found in material possessions, worldly achievements, and social status. However, true joy comes from the knowledge that we are saved through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
A cross is a dangerous thing—despised, hated, and rejected. Today, forces are at work to strip the cross from public venues and to minimize its significance in our personal lives. Christians must stand up against these attacks and defend the cross as a symbol of the love and grace of God toward man.
In his popular book When The Crosses Are Gone, Dr. Michael Youssef provides a diagnosis of the insanity of the current culture and a prescription for restoring sanity to a world gone mad.
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