There are quite a few ways for happiness in this world. Money is one entity that comes to mind. People can give us happiness too. The things we possess cause happiness. Yet, happiness is not joy. It is not the joy of the Lord. It is temporary. It is with instability to vanish any time and quickly. Joy has the power to remain. In fact, recollecting the joy of the Lord at any given instance gives hope and strength. So, it is not surprising that believers should aim for joy rather than happiness. Joy comes in many ways as well. The first of it is God’s blessings. They absolutely give untainted joy. Then, there are the godly people; in their company God causes joy. Again, the works of the Lord in our journey of faith gives immense joy, one that cannot be penetrated. Victory over sin and Satan’s temptations time and again signifying obedience to the Lord gives lasting joy. Yet, there is a joy available surpassing all these, for it especially acts as a firm avenue for joy and a stronghold to all the joy obtained. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22).
I will let you in on a secret right now. Of course, if you are already privy to it, you are more blessed than I. When Jesus said “blessed are you,” it also translates as “happy are you.” It indicates that the hatred of men, their ostracizing, insults and scorn will last only for a little while. When we face them, we are not joyous; no one is, for there is no perfect comfort in those times. But, we are still happy knowing for whose sake we are facing them. We are happy, since we display contentment. We are happy knowing we will have joy, i.e. the complete turnover of circumstances. This is because Jesus works in us to help us see from His perspective. We get to know and believe there is light at the other end. We know we are suffering for Him who can raise us even from the dead. Hence, James too in his letter says to consider it all joy when we face various trials. Meaning, to believe and take for granted at the advent of trials that joy awaits us.
Now, this joy is profound in the sense that it is both deep and overpowering. It in fact acts as a scarecrow in the field to those who caused us sorrow. It further acts as a shield to the various joys the Lord caused upon us. If you want to relive every joy of the Lord for you, you should make the deep and overpowering joy yours. If you want more of that joy, you need it as well. No doubt you suffer when you sincerely obey Jesus. But every time you suffer, by nature the flesh seeks to respond first. It is what you do and how you respond at that time that matters for obtaining the profound joy. Will you be calm and let happiness saturate you or will you let the flesh takeover? Obviously, it takes experience, but how quickly you let God handle your trials is vital in securing the profound joy. If you are quick to let Him handle them, you are quick for faith and to trust in Him, and in less time you gain experience. You have known that your life is depended on it. An upshot of profound joy is you will no longer be utterly afraid of the challenges of men. From now on you couldn’t care less for all they may bring upon you. For you are aware of the Lord’s doings of the past and of the moment. He has found a way for you, protected you and is still doing it. You even feel the hurdles he placed for them. At any cost you know that profound joy will be yours.
A check to all the above said things and the reason many do not find profound joy is expressed in the following. “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42). These people did not put their entire trust in Jesus. This was their only and only problem. Had they trusted Him, they would have suffered and the rest is history. Hence, even today many truly do not know joy. Not only are they unaware of it, but they impose their ignorance on others and in fear quibble them. They know what Jesus is capable of, they know the things that are possible with Him, yet fearing people and reputation do not confess Him. Now, someone wishing to follow Jesus faces even more difficulty. Yet, nothing is impossible with God. Why should anyone worry about being put out of respectable places? If Jesus doesn’t care, then it is a worry. But if one suffers for His sake, He certainly cares, and that is all sufficient. It is not for any simple reason He went on to say “blessed are you when men…” He said it knowing He will and can care for us. Many, being unable to grasp this, still bound themselves to intellectual knowledge.
Consider the following pointers and help your understanding for happiness.
- There will always be men that will disturb you. Yet, God will provide a way to bring you out. The Gentile Christians faced an upheaval problem from the Jewish Christians. “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls” (Acts 15:24). As the apostles prayed, God sent His Counselor, the Holy Spirit and the problem was solved. Just make sure of one thing at that time – that you are happy from the knowledge that you are indeed reviled for the sake of the Son of Man.
- A key ingredient for profound joy is self-control. “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Cor. 9:25). By having it you will not be quick in the flesh. It does have a fantastic outcome both on earth and much more in heaven. It first softens the situation as much as possible so the enemy does not have additional matter to feed on. Then in it God feeds you with wisdom, courage, strength and a platform for victory.
- If Jesus’ words about blessedness or happiness must apply to you, you must be a step ahead of the rest. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). Humility of mind exemplifies the act of doing nothing from selfishness. Meaning, you are able to very aptly control your mind. When you do it, you are bound to invite happiness for profound joy.
- Be assured that some acts of men against you will remain. Yet, you shall have happiness by the protection God offers you with His power through faith in order that you see the joy He set for you in the last time. This too is from the Jesus’ words “blessed are you when men…” So, as the apostle said, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials” (1 Pet. 1:6).
- The end will surely come for the acts of men that remained against you. God has already set a time for them. As a believer your vital goal is to persevere as Christ. “And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality” (Rev. 14:8). It all ends with profound joy!