By: Micha Kandal

Scripture: Psalm 16

From a young age, especially being Americans, we are taught to seek happiness. That being happy is how we know we’ve “made it.” We are taught to live the American Dream, and that our life motto should be “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” At least this is what society shouts at us.

As Jesus followers, we are promised that we will face trials of many kinds, and that we should consider those specific hardships pure joy (James 1:2). We are instructed to “Take heart, knowing that He will overcome the world (John 16:33). These scriptures do not promise that we will be happy, life will be easy, or that our lives will be flawless. We are essentially promised the opposite, that we WILL experience hardship. So, how do we make happy happen?

What I have found and personally have come to know, is that God is always inviting us to seek joy in each and every moment of life. Joy not happiness. Joy is so much deeper than the simple emotions of being happy or sad. Joy can thrive and coexist in the presence of sadness or anger or happiness. This is because joy is a state of being. We see evidence of joy and the desire or placement of it in our lives throughout scripture, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”(Romans 15:13) I believe that joy is a space we are meant to operate out of long term. In the moments and various times that God calls us into His presence, we are also being invited to become fully aware of our heart’s posture and if we are operating out of a place of joy. We are able to accept this beautiful, freeing invitation even when the circumstances aren’t ideal. 

This is why joy is so unique. While we live through various trials and temptations and we may experience a whole range of emotions and thought patterns, joy can still be active and 100% intentionally part of our lives. I think as Jesus followers who have heard the good news and know the promises of our Father, joy is meant to exist and overflow from our souls and into our lives. Even in hardship, or pain, or disappointment. As people who know the truth and promises of God and His character, we must remember that we are capable and strong enough to hold onto joy, even when it feels next to impossible. We were created to live a joyful life, we just have to accept the invitation.  

Click here to listen to the sermon, Emotions: Joy!