As I took my usual morning walks with the dogs, I noticed my neighbor’s yard sign — “You Deserve Happiness.” The sign provides some positivity to the neighborhood at a time when most would agree positivity is needed. The Declaration of Independence declares that we have the right to the pursuit of happiness. Most people spend their lives in search of this happiness. We are told we have the right to pursue it. We are told we deserve it. Yet a life focused on seeking out happiness misses what is much greater than happiness.
It is wonderful to experience happiness. When something happens in our lives and we enjoy the gift of happiness, we celebrate. We take photos and share them on social media. We feel great. We laugh. It’s as if we are on top of the world. Then the new car isn’t so new, the job is no longer yours, the marriage is no longer fun, etc. Poof and it is gone. Happiness can come and go in the blink of an eye.
You may have the right to pursue happiness, but you also have the opportunity for something so much greater — JOY! Happiness is here for a moment and depends upon your current circumstance. Those things change. Joy is lasting. Joy can be experienced even when you are in the most difficult storms of life. When everything around you is falling apart, happiness will elude you. This is why there’s a constant pursuit of happiness. It keeps escaping us. Even so, joy is possible even when our circumstances are not great, even when everything around us is falling apart. Why? Because God is our source of joy. When we trust God and His promises, when we hope in Him, and when we are grateful for His melodies being sung over our lives, the joy we have is one that cannot be taken from us (John 16:22).
You can live your life in constant pursuit of happiness, clinging to the idea that you deserve happiness, and declaring your right to pursue happiness. But what if you are settling for something you can occasionally experience rather than something that is wonderful all the time? What if we are selling ourselves short? God offers us inexpressible joy that overflows. This offer doesn’t change, doesn’t bend, doesn’t waiver. Even when we don’t deserve it, His promise is unchanging — a blessing we get from living life with Him.
Joy can be had. You my friend can experience joy. Life changes when you have joy. It truly is heaven on earth. Joy comes from God. Doing life with Him results in joy. In the Sacred Overlap, J.R. Briggs wrote, “Joy is the aroma of God’s kingdom.” Think about that for a moment. When I think of aroma, I think of something that takes over the house when I am cooking a nice meal. My homemade chicken noodle soup can be smelled all over the house. It simmers half the day. All day, I am met with a pleasant smell throughout the house. It reminds me of the soup that’s simmering in the dutch oven on the stove. Now consider joy being the aroma of God’s kingdom. It is present because He is present — because we are living in His presence. Read Romans 14:17. Now consider the joy — joy which comes from God, joy that is the fruit of the Spirit — and how it is a sweet, sweet aroma of God’s kingdom. Everyone who takes a whiff of the joy on display gets a glimpse of God.
Sure maybe you deserve happiness. Pursue it. Seek it out. Or go big. Seek out God. Live for Jesus. Don’t settle for less. Invite God to guide your steps and prepare yourself for the aroma of God’s kingdom to infiltrate your life. Joy and more joy! Unshakable joy. Inexpressible joy. Overflowing joy.