By Jill Briscoe
People look for joy in all the wrong places. Real joy can be found only in the presence of God. The joy of the presence of God is a joy that lasts, not just for certain moments, but forever. One of the problems is that people get happiness and joy all mixed up, yet they are very different things. Happiness depends on happenings while joy doesn’t. Happiness doesn’t maintain well and often relies on “pleasure feelings” to fuel it. The pleasures of this world and the pleasures of sin last only for a moment, as Job’s friend Zophar pointed out.
Sin, of course, never tells you it is fickle. Sin wants you to believe that it’s all flowers and sunshine. But if you’re looking for real pleasure, you’ll find that sin may be fun but is always fleeting. The flowers and sunshine turn to cold winter very quickly.
God is a God of joy, so we need to start by finding Him and knowing Him. Keeping our joy means realizing that the pleasures found in wickedness are only temporary. We must choose to side with the people of God rather than those who enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin, even if it means suffering. We may have to put aside some pleasures in order to find true joy. We may have to become a very different person as we turn away from certain activities to obey God. We might not keep our friends, but we’ll certainly keep our joy!
“Surely you know how it has been from of old, ever since mankind was placed on the earth, that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.” ~ Job 20:4-5
Lord, help me to keep my priorities and my activities in line with Your truth. Too many times I try to chase happiness in happenings, forgetting that true joy comes only from Your presence. Thank You for the joy You give at all times, even in times of suffering. Amen.