Joy vs. Happiness
Maintaining Joy In the Midst of the Struggle
JOY (Steadfast, Godly) VS Happiness (Emotion, Volatile)
Joy is mentioned 16 times in the book of Philippians. It was an important concept that Paul builds into the framework of the letter he’s writing to the church in Philippi. Interestingly enough, to anyone on the outside, this would have seemed like Paul was losing his mind, but why?
Paul was writing this letter from a Roman Prison
Not only was Paul facing persecution, the Philippians were facing persecution from false teachers as well. Through Paul’s predicament, he sets an example of how to embrace suffering and persecution by keeping his eyes set on Heavenly things. Paul knows that his imprisonment is going to be a useful avenue to spread the gospel, which is his soul purpose, and the fountain of his Joy.
Paul’s imprisonment actually led to some of the Roman guards being saved…
Paul demonstrates through his imprisonment that in the midst of the ongoing struggle, we are able to experience joy and the power of God. We have the opportunity to “leave behind” our mistakes and failures and, through Christ, we can push forward toward a heavenly prize- namely eternal life. While we work diligently toward it, God works in us… (Phil 3:8-14).
Throughout his time in prison, Paul honored his purpose, which kept everything in perspective.
I press on toward the goal to achieve the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and how to succeed. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
When looking at one of the most popular verses in the bible for Christian athletes, believers, and non-believers in context, we find that it means something totally different than what most of us originally thought.
This verse is not about us being able to perform well in order to be successful in every circumstance or to overcome a more talented opponent.
This verse teaches us that we are capable of suffering and enduring all things without being beaten due to the Power of Christ.
However, knowing this, as well as that God promises us He will never give us more than we can handle, we are free to pursue Heavenly goals without fear. When we start to see that we are capable of making it through any adversity (and that it actually makes us a little more like Christ), we begin to experience “peace that surpasses all understanding” rather than the fleeting happiness that is dependent on achieving worldly success.
Are you chasing happiness/worldly success, or are you prepared to fight for joy?
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