What touches you emotionally? What makes your spirit soar or what stirs up your ire? Do you love stories where good triumphs over evil, where wrong is called bad and right called good? Do you love it when people do the right thing regardless of the outcome? What do you hate? Do you hate injustice, dishonesty, cruelty and abuse? Do you hate wickedness? Do such things touch you? If so, then you have a real capacity to experience joy.
The Bible links our values with our capacity for lingering happiness. Good people are more likely to be happy people. Those who love evil can experience some level of pleasure, but it is momentary (Job 20:5). Because Jesus loved good and hated evil, God gave Him more joy than anyone else (Psalm 45:7). The more we become like Jesus the more we will love what He loves and hate what He hates. Holiness and joy are linked. The capacity for joy is connected to the capacity to feel indignation at wrong and pleasure at right. Joy doesn’t come from getting what I want; it comes from valuing what God wants. Being conformed to His image increases my capacity for gladness.
In Psalm 51:7-13, David related joy and gladness to being clean and forgiven. Confessing his sin to God restored not only his relationship with Him, but his joy. Are you catching the link between goodness and joy?
Finally we see that godliness is a person. “Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
Who did all of this? Jesus, of course! The mystery of godliness that leads to happiness is knowing and loving Jesus.
Could you stand some more happiness? Then seek goodness, seek Jesus! Be clean before God (Ecclesiastes 2:26). Love what He loves. Give up passivity; get fired up and share His indignation over wrong (Psalm 7:11). Promote justice for the oppressed (Proverbs 21:15). As we begin to care for others and share God’s good heart, our hearts will discover a new, deeper joy that only God can give.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.