What a wonderful weekend we had at Emmanuel Pentecostal. Saturday was the Woman’s Conference VISION and all the women were enriched and refreshed by the anointing of the Holy Ghost through the speakers. Then today it just felt like the joy of the Lord was poured out upon all of us.
I began to think about the words happy and joy and wondered if there is a difference. This has led me to a study that is enlightening.
As Americans we have a fundamental tenet that we are entitled to the “pursuit of happiness.” However, happiness is never defined. Therefore it is left up to the imagination of every citizen to decide what happiness is for them. For most it is the pursuit of wealth and fame. Others try to find happiness in drugs, alcohol or sex. Then there are those who seek ultimate happiness in a relationship or family. It seems for most to be an endless “pursuit” without an end in sight. Happiness ends up being a temporary fix and as elusive as the wind. When the wind blows adversely the state of happiness dissolves and will need to be pursued again after the storm passes.
And thus is the state of man without Christ. As I did a word search through the Bible I discovered that the word happy appears more in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. The word happy in Strong’s Concordance simply means blessed. If this is true then how can a person be happy without the blessing of God on their life? We are so fortunate at Emmanuel to have a pastor who has the wisdom of God. I am reminded of when the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon and one of her observations was “Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.” (I Kings 10:8) So the state of happiness is something that can be imparted and wisdom brings happiness. “
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” Proverbs 3:13
“She (wisdom) is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”
In the Book of Job 5:17 we find that “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not the chastening of the Almighty.” Most would not consider chastening something to be happy about, but we shall see that God’s point of view is entirely different than ours as His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are above our ways. “Happy is the man that feareth always.” (Prov. 28:14) Woah! Now that is directly opposite from the way most people think.
As I studied further I saw a vein of revelation emerging that has changed the way I think of happiness. In James 5:11 we read, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
Then in I Peter 4:14 we learn that to be persecuted is another certain way of obtaining happiness. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
Now that we have an idea what true happiness is according to scripture let us look at the word joy. Joy is used far more in the New Testament than the Old. I believe Christ’s birth brought joy to the heavens and the earth. Finally, the answer and the promise dwelt among us. During our Lord’s earthly ministry the blind saw and the lame walked and there was great joy among the people.
The will or desire of the Lord is for us to be filled with joy. He does not say that we be filled with happiness because we are not always happy. But when we are filled with the Spirit of the Living God, the Holy Ghost, we are full of His joy.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11
When the Holy Ghost was poured out in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost they were filled with great joy. “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.” Acts13:52
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17
The conclusion of the matter is that true joy goes beyond a state of happiness. It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength. It never was our joy in the first place but His joy. When we are filled with His Spirit no matter what circumstances we might find ourselves in we can have joy. Even when our heart is breaking we can have joy.
“Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.” Acts2:28
No matter what the future holds I know who holds the future. Yes the nations are shaking and prophetic events are unfolding at an unprecedented rate but we are promised a continuous flow of the joy of the Lord through anything if we abide in the True Vine.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” Galatians 5:22
When persecution comes for His name’s sake “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:23
Affliction and persecution should encourage, not discourage, a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” 2 Cor. 8:2
“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” I Th. 1:6
Be encouraged today, my friend, for when we are filled with the Holy Ghost His joy abides with us forever. Hallelujah!