Joy apart from Christ is happiness. It is fickle and dependent on circumstances. Joy in Christ is not understood by the world. They don’t “get” it and they think we are crazy as coots. Well, you know what they say about name-calling, right? I’d rather have the joy of the Lord than all the hyped-up happiness that the world has to offer, how about you?
According to the book of James, we should “be full of JOY” when we have many kinds of troubles!
When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience. Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need. – James 1:2-4
In fact, that first chapter of James goes on to tell us that if we practice patience we will be rewarded!
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12
So, even when life doesn’t seem picture-perfect (and let’s face it, when does it?) – there are promises from our Lord that if we will just practice JOY in the midst of less than perfect circumstances. Did you ever think of joy as something you should practice at all times?
Some people say you should never pray for patience because it usually means that you are going to head for troubled times that will test your faith. I am going to say here that God NEVER tempts us – but oh yes He definitely tests our faith! There is a difference. The enemy of our soul tempts us and he wants to see us crash and burn. God does the testing and He does that to grow us up and make us stronger and more mature in our faith. He wants only the BEST for us! He loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way. ❤