By Shirley Lee

Is there a difference between joy and happiness? Definitely!

How do you feel when someone does something nice for you to thank you for helping them when they need a helping hand? 

The feeling you get for receiving something from someone is happiness BUT the feeling you get for being there for them in their time of need is joy because of how you make them feel. So even if months have passed, when you think back about how you have helped someone, you will still feel glad that you made a difference in their life. It’s not about expecting to receive something or to boast. Occasionally, you will recall small gestures like this and it makes you want to do more because you have their best interest at heart.

In Galatians 5:22-23, it is written “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

The Greek word for Joy is χαρά (pronounced as Khar-rah) which is translated as ‘cheerfulness’, or in Thayer dictionary as “Gladness.”

In verse 25 of the same chapter, it reads If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in Spirit” (Gal 5:25)

The word ‘walk’ connotes an action. Hence, in order for us to have the fruit of the Spirit in us, we need to do something.

But the question is can we find JOY in our lives, especially in the midst of trials and challenges?

During good times, it’s very easy for most people to feel joyful. But life isn’t always going to be a bed full of roses, is it? Does it mean that we give up on life when it’s tough? Or do we walk around sulking because life feels unfair?

Just a few months ago, I have a staff who came to me and was crying. She told me that she didn’t think she could work in the Company anymore because of how her manager treats her and that she does not get any recognition for the work she has done. In other words, she felt very demotivated. I have to tell her that she is wrong to think that her manager doesn’t care about her. The fact that her manager lets her do her work on her own shows that she trusts her. Most importantly, if she expects someone to keep telling her she’s done a good job for every single thing she is doing, she’s going to be very disappointed throughout her entire life. In everything that we do, we want to feel happy but happiness is a temporary feeling.

So, where do we find joy and most importantly, how do we find joy?

We can find JOY:

1. In Jesus Christ through our faith and trust in Him

A. He promised us that He will be there to carry our burden. (Matthew 11:28-29: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.)

B. He promised us that He will be there to comfort us. (John 14: 27: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

C.  He promised us that He will be there to help us overcome our challenges. (Isaiah 41:13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.)

D. He promised us that with Him all things are possible. (Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.)

2. In Serving Others

   Who is most difficult for you to serve? Perhaps we struggle with serving those who we think don’t deserve it, or those who have hurt us. In John 13: 1-17, we learned that Jesus served the very man whom He knew would betray Him within hours.

   What does that say to us personally about serving that person in our life? What can we do to serve others that we may find joy?  Perhaps we can cook for someone, talk to someone or visitation. Have we considered praying for someone, which is also a way to serve others?

3. In You

     In life, there are many things that we want, but we know we can’t get everything. Besides setting our priorities right, having the right kind of heart is also important. Having a contented heart is important.

     Truth be told, it is easier said than done to have a contented heart because we are always surrounded by material things that we want or what others have. And when desires get out of control, we become short-sighted and we chase after temporary happiness/satisfaction.

Let us consider this. JOY can be found: 

– In Jesus Christ our Lord through   our   faith and trust in Him,

– In Serving Others,

– In You by having a contented heart.

At the same time, let us remind ourselves each day “How can I make a difference in someone’s life today?” and to always remember set our priorities and heart right with God to achieve JOY.