True Joy Comes from Being Content. That may not make sense to you or most people because most people equate joy with happiness. People and preachers often use the terms interchangeably, but that’s not correct. As a Christian, joy is quite different than happiness. Joy is contentment in the life that God has given you. Happiness is pleasure without pain. In the following few paragraphs, I’ll explore the differences and hopefully get you to be in a state of joy no matter your situation.
First, Some Definitions
JOY is a delight of the mind, from considering the present or assured possession of a good.
CONTENT is, held, contained within limits; hence, quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace; easy; satisfied, so as not to repine, object, or oppose.
HAPPINESS is the agreeable sensations that spring from the enjoyment of good, that state of being in which desires are gratified by enjoyment without pain.
The Biblical Definition of Joy
In my opinion, Philippians 4:11 is the definition of joy, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Being content or satisfied in all that Christ has and will do for you will bring you joy. Joy is the mind’s delight, from the contemplation of the present or the assurance of approaching possession of good in your life. You can only attain this joy through a relationship with Christ. True joy doesn’t require the absence of pain like happiness does because joy is contentment even through the pain. You can perceive this pain, due to wanting or terror or physically due to hunger, starvation, illness, or injury.
Joy Comes from Being Content
Paul, the author of Philippians, was in his own rented house, where for two years, he was free to impart the gospel to all who came to him but was not able to leave. It was a house arrest and sequestration. But he had also been imprisoned in the Mamertine Prison dungeon in Rome and threatened and attacked on several occasions. So, Paul understood hardship. But with Christ in his life, he could retain his joy. Paul could remain quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace and satisfaction. He could be joyful in knowing that God, through Christ, had something extraordinary in store for him. We call it heaven, but he also had the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. Through pain, suffering, and the pleasures of this world, the presence of the Holy Spirit and the expectation of heaven will give us joy and contentment.
Joy Comes from Being Content with What God Provides
God’s provision promises joy and contentment but not endless happiness. True happiness is the enjoyment of pleasure without pain. God never promised us pleasure without pain. We will have trials, tribulations, disasters, deprivations, and suffering. Intermingled within this real or perceived pain, we will have fleeting moments of happiness. So, if a pastor or evangelist promises you a lifetime of happiness if you accept Christ, they are liars. We are promised joy and contentment through our relationship with Christ and our expectation of heaven. That is all God promises as it pertains to this discussion. So, be content in what God gives you and receive joy from your contentment. Even if it seems that you have a life filled with pain, want, anguish, and despair the Holy Spirit is with you always. God is just a prayer away, and you have an eternal home in the perfection of heaven waiting for you. So, be content and joyful because your redemption draws near.