HAPPINESS ≠ JOY

Have you ever been under pressure?

What is the hardest thing you have been through lately?

Tough times can throw you off balance. When Paul prayed for people in the Bible, he never asked God to change their circumstances. Instead, he asked God to make them better in their circumstances. When I think back on some of the hardest situations in my life, I find that I had a choice in each of them to either get better or bitter. I would love to say that I have always gotten better instead of bitter, but that would not be the truth.

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What would you expect to get when you squeeze a lime?

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What would you expect to get when you squeeze a lemon?

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What would you expect to get when you squeeze an orange?

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What should we expect to get when you get squeezed?


What would you think if you squeezed one of the fruits above and vinegar came out? When Christians get pressured, joy should come out. Unfortunately, when the pressure is on, we leak something more like vinegar than joy. Joy is not the same thing as happiness. External circumstances trigger happiness, while an internal connection with God triggers joy. This type of joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit and is unchanging like God is unchanging.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). The word various in this passage means many-colored or polka-dotted. When something tragic happens, the Bible never says we should be happy. However, we can be joyful. Ask yourself, “What is God doing?” Ask yourself, “Will I trust Him?” This world is not supposed to be the best of all possible worlds. This world is the best of all possible ways to the best of all possible worlds. God is at work, and he never wastes a hurt.

God is not the problem. He is the solution.

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