Happiness is the not same as having joy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A few years ago, I remember walking into a local restaurant and greeting a man and woman that I had never met. They were both employed at a local industry. The man had a company uniform on, and as I greeted him, I said, “Hi Mike.” He looked confused and asked how I knew his name. “It was easy, Mike,” I said, “Unless you stole the shirt.” (He had his name on his shirt.)
The lady laughed and I asked her name. “Joy,” she answered. “How do you spell that?” I asked. “J-O-Y,” she responded. I then told her that her name meant putting Jesus first, others second and yourself third. She said that she had never heard that before. I said, “That’s why I came here to tell you what that beautiful name meant.”
I recall one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears. He wore a gold chain with just the number “3” hanging around his neck. Being curious, people would ask what the “3” stood for. With humility, he would say that to have the Joy of the Lord, he must put Jesus first, others second, and himself last. “I wear it around my neck because every morning when I look in the mirror, I’m reminded of the Joy of the Lord.”
Nehemiah 8:10 reads: “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Without joy, a Christian is a weak witness.  
Many people confuse being happy with having joy. Happiness can be temporary and last only as long as the excitement of the time. When talking to alcoholics and illegal drug abusers, I often tell them that when we were searching for happiness, people had to tell us when to be happy. That’s why barrooms have a “Happy Hour.” It only lasts for a little while. A long time ago, I remember hearing that unhappiness is not knowing what you want and killing yourself to get it. Joy, on the other hand, can be eternal. Regardless of the situation, we can have the Joy of the Lord.
Joyfulness of a man prolongs his days. I have to be reminded every day that I’m not fully dressed until I have a smile of joy.
If you have any questions or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call 985-652-8477, or email hkeller@comcast.net.