“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (I John 1:4). According to the Declaration of Independence all men are endowed with the unalienable right to pursue happiness. The problem however, with pursuing happiness is that you have to catch it. And this proves easier said than done.
There is a good reason why people have trouble discovering true and lasting happiness. Happiness depends on what happens. Happiness is linked to our circumstances. When things are going great, then I am happy. When things take a turn for the worst, then my happiness evaporates. What people really want is a happiness that lasts. People desire a happiness that doesn’t depend on happenstance. But, does such a thing exist?
Such a thing does exist. But it is not called happiness. In fact, we find this thing on the pages of the Bible. There we see a better alternative to happiness in what the Bible calls joy. Joy, unlike happiness, does not depend upon my situation in life. Joy is deeper and more abiding than happiness. Joy is something that God gives His children. Joy is a mark of someone who has been truly redeemed.
D.L. Moody describes joy this way: “It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring that the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about. The Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to Him.”
According to John, full and complete joy results from a relationship with Christ. And this joy can be ours in Christ.