i just saw a commercial that promised me if bought this new,  space-age glue product…my holidays would become more joyful.

wow.   so that’s the secret.

glue will fill up what’s missing in my heart.

glue will give meaning to my life.

glue will calm my restless soul.

glue will bring peace to my chaos.

glue will give wholeness and purpose.

incredible.   and for only $9.95…

not. (how’s that for old school?) here’s a reminder.   there’s a difference between joy and happiness.   happiness is circumstantial.   happiness is all about changing the situation we find ourselves in.   happiness finds its definition in what is happening. happiness is a feeling that happens when good things…favorable things…pleasant things…come our way.

happiness is a feeling we chase with desperation.   happiness is our entitlement.   happiness is our treasured goal.

happiness is the fake prize.

joy,  on the other hand,  is not dependent on good things happening.   joy can be present in the most hopeless and miserable situations we find ourselves in.   joy is not produced by something external.   joy is not dependent on…well…anything.

joy is a state of mind and heart that transcends our circumstances.   joy is a fruit of the spirit.   it is a gift that is given to those who place their trust in a god who is bigger and greater than any condition we find ourselves in.  joy may produce a good feeling,  but it is not the feeling.   joy sits outside the parameters of the situations we find ourselves in.   joy is a frame of reference.

joy is both an outcome of our relationship with the lord and our source of strength for our obedience of him…and our resolve to go through any difficulty.   (john 15 and nehemiah 8:9)    joy is a word that gives definition to our confidence and our contentment and our determination.

glue cannot do that.


8 thoughts on “Glue

  1. For all the highjenks and craziness I bring to your blog I would just like to say this is one of the best things you’ve posted on here. Good stuff and stuff I needed to read.

    No hi-jack today. (at least not yet)

  2. Mike, thanks for the needed reminder that nothing can take the place of God. Not glue, not family, not a great job, not a winning sports team. Only in our eternal, faithful, “definition of good” God do we find lasting joy. Joy that can trump ANY other disappointments that come our way in this world. I believe that!

    Where you lose is me is contrasting joy with happiness. They seem pretty much like the same thing to me. Occasions that bring joy or happiness put a smile on our face. Neither just happiness or just joy should be what we pursue. Do I need to try to figure out if today I am happy or joyful. On the other hand it might be good to figure out why I am happy or joyful.

    We are told to rejoice (be happy). The only way I can figure to obey that command is to recognize something good and appreciate it. If I am continually aware of the grace that God is pouring into my life and am thankful for it then the result is joy or happiness that the world can’t mess with. Joy or happiness begins with our seeing and counting our blessings. You reminded us in the study of James that God expects us to rejoice in our trials because the “good thing” of endurance is produced through the trial. It takes some effort to recognize that “good thing,” but when it is appreciated the joy comes.

    The big deal is this. Do only worldly temporary things bring me joy and happiness? Or do I also experience the joy and happiness of appreciating the gifts of God or the presence God Himself! That seems like where our joy is made complete in abiding in Jesus.

  3. I think Mike is saying that joy is internal and happiness is superficial. You can still have joy in your life/being, but be unhappy with circumstances. Joy is the optimism that constantly abounds especially if you have a relationship with God. Joy may not ALWAYS be expressed, but it’s there.

    Very nice blog Mike it’s making me think more and more.

  4. Mike,
    Thanks for giving so much clarity on a sometimes confusing subject. It happens to me that searching for happiness, especially during Christmas is based on a selfish endeavor. We get so “bought” into this Idea that things of no consequence are important.
    Pray for a Joyfull Christmas.

  5. point taken, gary.

    for me, the reality is that in my life there are moments…even days…when i am not happy. but even in the midst of those moments, there is a presence of quiet inner confidence that my hope of salvation will be realized…that the goodness of god is still present… that i am not going through my “unhappiness” alone…and the darkness will ultimately pass.

    that is my understanding of what joy is. it doesn’t prevent me from pursuing happiness, nor enjoying it when it is present. it’s simply a different part of my journey.

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