The Abundant Life: Riches money can’t buy…

The abundant life knows the difference between happiness and joy.

Happiness and joy are not always synonymous. Many times happiness is conditional and dependent on what happens to us. Even the words are similar—happiness and happening. People are happy when things are going well. Life is overall good. There’s no immediate crisis. Our health is great. There’s enough money in the bank for the check to clear. We have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over our head. Our kids are doing okay. No one is out to get us.   

But when those things start to change, we do not remain happy. If we have health problems, go through a divorce, deal with a leaky roof, lose a loved one, receive bad news, and so on, we are not happy. However, we could still have joy because joy runs much deeper than happiness. It transcends events and circumstances.

True joy comes from knowing God and having a relationship with Him. This gives our lives meaning and purpose. True joy is an attitude of the heart and spirit, present inside us. That’s why joy can share its space with other emotions such as sadness or shame, or even exist in the darkest and most difficult times. Hard times don’t have to take away our joy.

Maybe that’s why James 1:2 tells us to “count it all joy” when we have trials. It’s not telling us to laugh with glee when bad things happen. It’s telling us to look beyond circumstances. Learn what we can, do what we can, but realize this physical life is temporary. 

Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus endured being crucified because of the joy set before Him. He could see beyond what was happening. Joy can exist in spite of what happens. All people having a relationship with Jesus Christ can have joy. Joy undergirds our spirit. Joy brings hope. Joy brings peace and contentment.

Joy and rejoicing must be very important to God because the word joy in some form or another appears more than 200 times in the Bible—and that does not include words like happy, celebrate, blessing, cheerful, and so on. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” This exhortation is so important that Paul repeats it for emphasis.

The next verse tells us why. “The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5 NIV) We can rejoice because the Lord is near. He is with us during the good times and the bad times. There is joy, peace, and comfort in knowing Jesus is always with us. We may not know what is going on but He does. He will never leave or forsake us. He walks with us every step of the way. He will help us make it through. Joy helps us look beyond the current situation.

Those living the abundant life know that joy is like an inner smile. When we are ecstatic, it bubbles out and becomes a huge grin. When we are sad, it’s a tiny expression filled with peace and calm. But it’s always there—regardless of our circumstances.  


…I have come that they may have life and that they

may have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10 (KJV)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.