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Everyone desires to be happy and seeks it in varies ways and with varying degrees of intensity. Some seek it through pleasure, other through entertainment, possessions, work, position, substances, and the list can go on. The experiences of individuals the world over tell us that no matter how secure and wonderful their source of happiness maybe, human happiness does not last long. According to King Solomon the wisest to have lived the earth, he conducted a series of experiments in a quest to get the most and best out of life. Biblical joy is a fruit, a by product, an additional blessing, not an end in itself. It flows into and grows within the person whose life and energies are not focused merely on being joyful.
King Solomon experiment included laughter, the finest wines, wisdom, and building projects that were the envy of the world. He acquired silver and gold….”whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them… I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure…Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done….and found it to be nothing but vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecc. 2:1-12). Solomon admitted that his quest rewarded him with a degree of happiness, yet he still found that it did not satisfy him. He concluded that it is God who determines whether or not we experience happiness (Ecc. 2:26). When individuals in the world so zealously chase after happiness it proves the point that if they are still chasing happiness, then they must not have it.
Among individuals, relaxation and merriment tends to become their most important interest and in the end their joy becomes gaiety, revelry and even debauchery. God makes it clear in the scriptures that real joy lies in the quality of our relationship with Him; therefore we can be actually foolish as to think that we can somehow produce it ourselves. One thing is certain, dwelling on ourselves and our wants will never produce true joy. The harder we try to be joyful through our own efforts, the more miserable we will become.
Most individuals fail to experience joy when times become difficult, generally they get so caught up in the issues of life that they forget to rejoice in the Lord or they question how it is even possible when life gets do discouraging, depressing and frustrating. To experience the secret of joy one must carefully reflect on the path of joy as it is outlined in the scriptures. Just because God’s spirit dwells within us does not mean that we will necessarily experience joy, we must make a choice to let Christ be our joy.
Joy is the sign that life has found its purpose and its reason for being. One characteristic toward producing joy is a measure of self-denial and selflessness which is the exact opposite of the world view. Joy is possible at all times if we live as He commands us to live. The happiness that is being referred to is not circumstantial in nature; rather, it is all about investing in heavenly priorities and placing ones faith in Christ regardless of the circumstances.