Do You Know This One “Secret” to Lasting Joy?

April 1, 2014

Building Faith

The Secret to Joy is not Putting on a Happy Face

The advice to “put on a happy face” might work for a pick-me-up, but the way to lasting joy is much deeper than faking happiness.

Facing the temptations and challenges of life, Jesus found joy exactly the way we are told to find it. He is the author of the faith. He knows how to handle the problems of life in the best way, and He set the example for us. If we imitate Him, we will find joy in life too.

The Joy We Desire Begins With The Way We Think.

James 1:2 says to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” We are taught to consider the things that bring about joy. What is it that we should consider that would bring about joy?

4 Mistaken Sources of Joy

When we look at the life of Jesus, we can see that He dismissed the concepts of position, power, prestige, and even glory as ways of finding joy. We might think that if we had all four of those things we would have a great deal of joy, but we are told that Jesus did not think that way. So to “count it all joy” does not mean to try to figure out how to bring about position, power, prestige, or glory from your sufferings. Those are things that do not provide lasting joy. Jesus knew that.

We are told in Philippians 2:7-8 that Jesus accepted the form of a servant, not a master. He already had position, being with God even from creation (John 1:1-4), but He did not seek to hold it. He had power, but gave it up to become human—flesh and blood, dependent upon others to care for Him. He had prestige and glory but gave them up for the humility of being born to poor humans. Certainly Jesus had joy while having the power, prestige, position, and glory that He did, but He knew that the cause of that joy did not lie in those things!

Jesus Did Not Seek Joy In Those Elevated Things, And Neither Should We.

Hebrews 12:2 tells about Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” Notice that joy was set before Him. Why was the thought of joy there?

Instead of humming a tune to ignore the pain, Jesus chose to suffer.

It was not because the circumstances of His death brought joy to Him. That joy was set before Him intentionally, by His own effort. This is what James 1:2 tells us to do. When you face trouble and temptation, set before your mind joy.

Joy Is Not Avoidance Or Escape From Suffering

This joy Jesus set before Him was not a simple avoidance of the sufferings of the cross. He reminded Himself of the end result of the suffering. He had contemplated His situation and had determined to behave in a way that would ultimately bring about joy. The way to the joy was to accept willingly and willfully the burden of the cross (Philippians 2:7-8). This is what James 1:2 tells us to do. It is not a verse about avoiding. It is about embracing. Determine to endure the temptation to the end and gain from that suffering all the joy that God has to offer.

Instead of “putting on a happy face” to ignore the pain, Jesus embraced the agony He was facing. If you want to get the most from your troubles, embrace the suffering you face in life with full assurance that when you come out on the other side you will have all joy available to you.

Instead of letting the idea of joy be a shallow attitude of humming a song and putting on a happy face while suffering, let it be a meaningful hope that brings you through your challenges and makes you better as a result.

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About Jason Sparks

I am passionate about spreading the Gospel. God has blessed me with a wife and two children. I have been preaching full time since graduating Brown Trail School of Preaching in June, 1999 and also have an MA from University of Phoenix.

View all posts by Jason Sparks

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