From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
The word joy has all but disappeared from our current vocabulary. One reason is because we have confused joy with happiness, and have come to believe it is found in pleasure, security, and prosperity. In doing this, however, we have believed a lie that comes from Satan.
The Apostle James did not say, “Count it all joy when you fall into an easy chair.” He wrote: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” Why? Because it produces godly attributes that help us get through the difficulties of life. He continues: “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Joy is not the same as happiness—although they may overlap. Happiness depends on circumstances; joy depends on God. Happiness vanishes when life turns painful; joy keeps going and may even grow, even in the midst of sickness, pain, and various problems.
Joy comes from a living, vital relationship with God. It comes from knowing this world is only temporary, and someday we will be with God forever. It comes from the fact that although we do not yet see God, we believe in Him, obey Him, live for Him in glorious joy—because of Him (1 Peter 1:8).
Joy is found only in Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)