Joy in a Jar
Yes, that is the lid to my yogurt cup. Today while shopping I indulged in fancy French yogurt that comes in a glass jar. Actually, I bought myself two. I'm not really much of a shopper. In fact the hubby laughs at the fact that a new mop, good smelling cleaner or a little glass jar makes me happy. He really should be thankful...it saves him money and closet space.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just run down to the store to buy a little joy?
My sweet yogurt is now in my belly and while I have a dainty glass jar to be creative with, I am left wanting more. That second treat is calling out to me from the kitchen. Herein lies the problem. We get joy and happiness confused. Happiness is pleasurable but fleeting. It doesn't satisfy. After feeding one craving, we quickly move on to the next thing. Joy on the other hand is deeply sustaining. It doesn't disappear on the whim of our next desire. It won't dissipate in the flood of our lives.
So how do we tell the difference between the two?
Happiness is inward focused while joy is upward focused.
Happiness is easy, joy is a choice.
We see several references to joy in the Bible.
In the Old Testament we see the Israelites find joy when they would obey the commands of the Lord and make sacrifices at certain times. God was overly explicit in His directions for sacrifice. It had to be a certain kind of animal, grain or oil. It needed to be done in a certain order, at certain times of the year. Their very existence is one of trial and struggle, but throughout the Old Testament when we see them chose to obey the Lord, sacrificing their time & resources, they would be filled with the joy of the Lord.
We see David in the Psalms lament his struggles and end with rejoicing. He focused on the promises of who God is, getting his eyes off of his circumstances.
"When we turn our eyes onto Jesus, the things of earth grow dim in the light of His glory & grace."
In the New Testament, Paul often speaks of the connection between trials and choosing joy. In the book of Philippians, he states that trials have expanded the reach of the gospel & encouraged believers; rejoice!!!
Joy chooses to believe God is good when life is not. It is the quiet strength for the journey.
Joy isn't really found in a jar. But that lid isn't too far off from the truth. Joy is in the living. Living for God's glory.
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.