Most people want to experience joy and happiness, and some people spend their entire life pursuing it. Joy can be defined as an emotional state of being or a feeling of elation, but many people miss the mark when searching exclusively for it. The world’s definitions of joy are incomplete and impartial, because those definitions can change at any time. To learn the truth about how to find it, we must search through the Bible.

The world says we can find happiness when we buy a new car, shop at a particular department store, earn a certain salary, or socialize with the right crowd. The problem with this way of thinking is that what the world says is important becomes meaningless and temporary when compared with the Scriptures, which are unchanging truths. When we study the Bible, we learn that God’s plan includes perfect happiness in Him. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24) Jesus spoke these words to His disciples to teach them that true and lasting joy comes only from God.

When we refocus our mindset from looking for happiness with worldly things to realizing that it’s actually a blessing from heaven, our whole perspective begins to change. The world tells us we have to work hard to find any degree of happiness or peace, fleeting though it may be. Jesus reveals to us that we can’t find joy through our own efforts, only through Him. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 4:4, 6, 7)

His blessings are found in peaceful children, happy marriages, stable finances, and success and prosperity in everything we do. Accepting God’s Word as truth and believing it strongly enough to apply it to our life allows Him to pour out those blessings on us. We’re suddenly caught by surprise when we realize that the deep sense of peace and joy that flows through us comes from His thoughts toward us. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jer. 29:11)

God’s joy goes deeper than just a sense of elation or exhilaration. When we believe His promises to us, even in situations when we don’t feel happy at the moment, we still have a supernatural sense of joyful peace. It’s higher, deeper, and wider than any ocean, and we simply know it’s from His presence. “Rejoice always, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:16, 18) God wants us to know that the kind of happiness greater than we could ever imagine is found only through Him.

The theme of thanksgiving is mentioned repeatedly in the Scriptures because when we encounter His love, we can’t help but give thanks for the joy we discover. It originates from Him, not from the world. “Why is everyone hungry for more? ‘More, more,’ they say. ‘More, more.’ I have God’s more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees. At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, For you, God, have put my life back together.” (Psalm 4:6-8) He makes us whole again!

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