This is the third week of Advent; we are turning our attention to JOY this week!

Often times we confuse happiness and joy; before assumptions start flying… I’m not against happiness – it’s pretty important too! That said, I’ve found there’s an incredible difference between the two.

Here’s some examples which will help to draw the distinction between the two:

  • someone who is “unhappy” in their marriage can still find “joy” in their children or grandchildren.
  • someone who is “unhappy” in their profession can find “joy” in a hobby
  • someone who is “unhappy” with their physical or mental condition can find “joy” in a friendship.

Unfortunately, each of these “joys” are very temporary – children grow up (and out), interests in hobbies wane, and friendships tend to fade over time as well. The joy we cultivate and experience is horrifically temporary.

But there is a REAL and lasting joy for anyone who believes and follows Jesus. On John’s gospel, the fifteenth chapter we find this beautiful gem,

 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11 ESV

This verse tells us that Jesus’ joy has been placed in us! The exciting part of that is that Jesus’ joy isn’t temporary, it is eternal! Who is going to steal His joy? Who will rob Jesus of His joy? No one!

As we begin to focus on the joy He’s placed in us (not our temporal joy), we find that our joy is full or complete; no more working tirelessly to cultivate joy only to have it taken from us or wear off over time – Jesus in you gives you joy, REAL and complete joy.

Tap into that joy this week by worshipping, reading, and prayer, turning your attention away from circumstances and onto what He’s already placed in you. You don’t have to muster up this joy – it’s already there!

Joy to the world!