ON THE JOURNEY

MICHAEL DUVAL, CO-PASTOR

How many of us believe that what’s most important in life is to pursue our personal happiness? We buy into the common belief that God exists to be our “personal genie” who will grant our wishes and validate our feelings because we hold the idea that “at the end of the day, God just wants me to be happy.”


Shane Pruitt has written a challenging article called: “Are You Wasting Time Trying to Be ‘Happy’?”


Seeking a God-honoring, healthy happiness is not a bad thing, in fact, it’s a good thing if it’s rightly understood. The world’s idea of happiness is tied to circumstances, as in, if our circumstances are favorable, then we’re happy; if not, then we’re not at all happy. If we’re pursuing this kind of happiness, it will lead us again and again into a ditch of resentment and regret.


Ultimately, God wants us to be obedient to Him, trust Him, and know that everything He does is for our good, even if we don’t feel “happy” at that moment. Full trust in God enables us to experience Godly joy—which is a state of contentment, confidence, and hope that only comes from God. It’s an incredible gift from God which we often miss because we’re too busy pursuing worldly happiness.


God has a lot to say about this gift. A form of the word “joy” appears 88 times in the Old Testament and 57 times in the New Testament. Experiencing Godly joy is so much better than chasing after worldly happiness.


Joy is the second fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy…” God gives you His very best, Himself! This is the good news of the Gospel—we get God! We get to know Him, experience Him, and have His Spirit live inside of us. One of the markers that the Spirit of God dwells in us is the presence of joy in our lives. If we have the Spirit, we will have joy!


Joy is not built on outward circumstances; it’s built on Christ dwelling inside the believer. If the Spirit of Christ is always inside of us, and He will never leave us; then our joy will never leave us. No matter what we go through, we can have joy, because God is with us. Good days—joy. Bad days—joy. Suffering—joy. When everything goes our way—joy. When nothing goes our way—joy. Joy remains constant because of Christ dwelling inside us.


If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired from the pursuit of worldly happiness, will you open yourself to the experience of Godly joy? Even if you may not have happy feelings, remember God is with you. If He is with you, then joy is with you too.


-Michael