“Happy” is hard to define, but we know it when we experience it. The word “happy” comes from an old Icelandic word “happ”. It is related to happenings, happenstance and haphazard. Happy is a feeling, an emotion, which occurs when something we like happens to us. Consequently, happy is unreliable, fickle. We talk a lot about being happy, but the Bible talks a lot about being joyful. Living a joyful life is not living under your circumstances; it is living over your circumstances knowing that God is with you. We can choose what kind of life we want to live…one with a joy-filled strategy, or one with a misery-enhancing strategy. It’s a choice!

Scriptures
Phil 1:12-17; Phil 1:3-4; Phil 1:7-8; Phil 1:20-21; Phil 1:18-19

Verse
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (Phil 1:18-19) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Phil 1:21)

Thought
Even in prison Paul viewed his circumstances with a joy-filled perspective. He didn’t wait for things to change hoping for happiness. He didn’t envy those who were walking around free. He received his circumstance as part of God’s plan. He relied on his friends for support, comfort and prayer, and he embraced BIG optimism. His faith in Jesus Christ gave him the eager expectation that no matter what happened, there would be good accomplished, and ultimate deliverance was certain through Christ.

Questions
What is joy? When have you experienced joy in the midst of less than “happy” circumstances? Can you comprehend the kind of joy Paul is talking about? What percent of the time are you able to function with a joy-filled strategy? Do you know anyone who has a misery-enhancing strategy? What affect do they have on you and others? What does “to live is Christ and to die is gain” mean to you?

Response
Determine to face the coming week with a joy-filled strategy. Look for opportunities to give an unhappy person a positive thought in the midst of their circumstance. Read God’s Word to gain confidence in the power of God’s Spirit to sustain you and hold you close in the midst of all life’s ups and downs.

Prayer
Father, thank you for your Word and for your Divine plan. You hold the past, the present and the future in your hands. I know you hold me! Strengthen my faith that my joy may increase as I walk life’s uncertain path with you. You are my guide; my hope in is you! I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.