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Maintaining Joy

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The LORD be magnified!”  Psalm 40:16

Though some people use the terms happiness and joy interchangeably, there is a vast difference in their meanings.  Both cause a pleasant emotional response, but the former relies entirely upon circumstances.  As soon as difficulty arises and pain intrudes, a person ceases to be happy.  On the other hand, joy is a gift from God that enables believers to find hope and peace – even when life seemingly falls apart.

At times, however, even Christians live joylessly.  Sinful behavior, of course, is one reason. But there can be other causes, too, including regret about past failures, fear of future mishaps, or a pattern of discontentment that’s ingrained in one’s personality.

If you are a follower of Jesus but lack gladness, take a moment to remember who Christ is – and who you are in Him.  To begin with, you are saved eternally, and your name is written in the lambs’ book of life.  The love of almighty God is unconditional, and His indwelling Spirit will never abandon you. He understands everything that you face and promises to provide for your needs.

When you stop to consider the amazing blessings that are yours in Christ, gratitude will likely overwhelm you.  Sadness concerning circumstances may still endure, but the joy of the Lord will carry you through even the deepest pain.

(By Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries, Inc.)