[callout]Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.[/callout]

What’s your priority, happiness or joy?

How do you think your children or students would answer this question? How would you like them to answer it?

Too many of our young people are making decisions with the goal of personal happiness in mind. They make choices based on them becoming or remaining happy. They stay friends with those who make them happy.

It’s not that I want young people, or old, to be unhappy. It’s just that prioritizing happiness can be dangerous.

Digital technology is partly to blame. Its entertainment value, games, constant connections, numerous choices, and the ease with which we can do so many things has caused people to prioritize happiness. And, it’s as if we can create it and keep it going. People think happiness is their possibility and responsibility. Many think it’s their right.

Happiness happens. It’s caused by external things; many that we can’t control even though some have bought the lie that they can. Happiness comes and goes. Comes and goes. Comes and goes.

Joy is an internal emotion. It can stay constant regardless of our circumstances. It’s not a reaction to what’s going on around us. Rather, it’s a life choice. For those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, it’s a once-for-all gratitude response to His saving grace.

  • The joy of the Lord is our strength.  (Nehemiah 8:10)
  • In God’s presence is the fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)
  • The God of hope fills us with all joy and peace in believing. (Romans 15:13)
  • Joy is one element of the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • We can consider it all joy when we encounter various trials. (James 1:2)

Happiness isn’t consistent. Joy can be.
Happiness depends on my mood. Joy doesn’t.
Happiness depends on the way I interpret circumstances. Joy doesn’t.
Happiness can cause me to make unwise choices. Joy doesn’t.
Happiness is temporary. Joy is everlasting.
Happiness depends on my perspective. Joy is due to having God’s perspective.
Happiness is based on preferences. Joy is based on promises.

What’s your priority, happiness or joy? I hope you desire joy. Talk about joy. Have joy. Model joy.