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By Ryan Dailey
Assistant Director at Camp Utmost 

The pursuit of joy

Passages

 

September 9, 2021

Photo provided

Assistant Director at Camp Utmost Ryan Dailey

The world around us is obsessed with the pursuit of happiness. But what if I told you I had no interest in the pursuit of happiness but am instead more interested in the pursuit of joy? Let me explain.

Happiness is a fleeting momentary circumstantial emotion whereas joy is a more permanent state of being. When we receive good news we may be happy, but this happiness can be quickly dashed by bad news. Because joy is a permanent state of being, I and many others choose to find joy in Christ. This means that no matter what bad circumstances occur around us, we are able to stay joyful and express true joy. Our joy is not tied up in emotions and can be expressed through us, in us and despite us.

For those who may not know me very well, I deal with chronic back pain on a daily basis. Although I am often discouraged because of this, I can still express true joy. James 1:2-5 tells us to have joy through every trial we face. Since joy is not circumstantial, we can express joy by focusing on Jesus and his plans for us, knowing that if we ask he will give us this joy that is everlasting. Though we may have discouragement, sadness and even anger at times, joy will never leave. We can express joy though tears because it is not based on circumstance but is rather a state of being.

The Webster dictionary defines joy as being "evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires."

When Jesus is our desire--the one who will never abandon us--how then can true joy depart us? For in fact the pursuit of joy is the pursuit of Jesus.

If you are curious about the joy that I and many others have (though we may not often express it well at times!), please read the passage below in Ephesians 2:1-5.

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved."

It is through this undeserved gift of grace that we find true joy. It is because of this grace that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, joy can be present. Our salvation and hope of heaven is secure, and that is the pursuit of joy.

 

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