"I just want to be happy" could be considered the mantra of the 21st century.
The "relentless puruist of happiness" has become an obsession for our culture.
According to Psychology Today, in 2008, 4,000 books were published on happiness - up from only 50 in the year 2000.
For most, their happiness is based on the "happenings" in their lives.
If "happenings" are good - they are happy.
If "happenings" are bad - they are sad.
Yet the joy of the Lord (which provides us with true happiness and is our strength) is not based upon my circumstances, either good or bad.
It is based upon a relationship with Christ himself.
Pastor Tim Keller used the following example to show how to find ultimate joy and satisfaction in Christ. He writes:
"Do you remember when your mother used to say, "Don't eat candy before meals?"
Why did she say that? Because she knew it would ruin your next meal. The trouble with eating candy is that it gives you a sugar buzz, and then you don't feel hungry. Candy masks the fact that your body needs proteins and vitamins. The sugar buzz from candy masks your hunger for the real nutrients that you don't have.
Things like sex, power, money, and success - as well as favorable circumstance - act like spiritual sugar. Christians who have these spiritual candies may say, "Sure, I believe in God and I know I'm going to heaven," but they are actually basing their day-to-day joy on favorable circumstances. When the circumstances change, it drives us to God, because when the sugar disappears, when the candy gets taken away, we're forced to pursue the feast that our souls really crave. We'll hunger for the spiritual nutrients we really need."
As I said Sunday (and it is a quote), "you never know how much God is all you need until God is all you have."
I encourage you to receive your joy today, not from the ups and downs of the "happenings" in your life but from God himself.
Pray something simple like this: "Father, I rest in your joy today."
Just a thought for a Tuesday.