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Joy is a fruit of the spirit; it is required of us. The pursuit of pleasure is a temporary distraction that attempts to manufacture happiness through immersive stimulation. Solomon found all such human attempts to be vanity. Joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is a response to pleasurable physical experiences.
Joy is a cheerful spiritual state of being that exists regardless of material circumstances. It is closely related in etymology and meaning to grace; i.e. as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is given to us by God in proportion to the measure of that spirit we cultivate. Joy stems from a relationship with God.
Obedience to the law of God is a pre-requisite for joy. There is nothing wrong with pleasure, but pursuing pleasure is a high-risk path, because we can experience pleasure from evil. So pleasure may easily lead us to sin. By breaking our relationship with God, sin crushes joy. Conversely, obedience is the definition of our relationship with God. Christ was perfectly obedient, even to death, and was subsequently glorified.
Like Christ, we must also be generous. Self-sacrifice enhances joy. Conversely, the pursuit of pleasure is selfish. Outwardly focused fellowship with brethren in the Church is fellowship with the Holy Spirit; it refreshes us. Do not forsake the assembly.
Accepting God’s sovereignty over human affairs is comforting. God does not cause evil, but He does allow it. Yet whatever transpires, in His omnipotence, He uses it for His purpose. Take rest in God’s sovereign control of all things.
Christ offered the key ingredient to joy in the Beatitudes; “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. It seems antithetical to gladness, but a contrite, meek, even mournful heart will experience joy. Because such an attitude strengthens our relationship with God. Repent to have joy.
Our myopic human perspective interrupts joy, because it demands good things now. But God’s perspective is huge. He is creating, and recognizes the benefits of short term discomfort. Whatever is serves His purpose, and His purpose is your salvation, so we can be joyful no matter what. Seek the Kingdom of God with perseverance, and keep your joy in that sure future promise.