“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
Happiness is of the soul; joy is of the spirit.
What does this mean? It means that happiness depends on circumstances but joy does not. You can be joyful in the midst of great personal sorrow. In other words, you can experience joy even when your circumstances make you unhappy. By the same token, you can be happy in your circumstances, but deep down you lack joy.
For example, a woman may be in a very unhappy marriage, but she can still experience the joy of the Lord deep within her spirit. Or a man may be very unhappy in his job, but he can still experience the joy of the Lord deep down in his spirit.
Joy is the eternal fruit of the Holy Spirit. It supersedes the temporary circumstances of your life and causes you to rise above them. Happiness, on the other hand, vacillates based on what is happening in your life at any given moment. The pursuit of happiness will keep you chained to your circumstances and make you a victim of them. The pursuit of joy will set you free to rise above your circumstances.
Scripture tells us that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Joy carries us through difficult times in a way that happiness cannot.
Pursue joy above happiness. Happiness can swiftly disappear, but joy remains forever.
Unforgiveness can keep you from experiencing the joy of the Lord. If you have no joy, ask yourself if you are harboring unforgiveness toward someone who hurt you. If so, you will benefit from reading my powerful story about a woman who had the same struggle. It is called A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING and is available for Kindle, iPad, and Nook.
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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via one of her social media venues below:
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