“Is my joy shaky…shallow…stunted by life’s circumstances?” These are hard questions I asked myself as I read the book How to Have Real Joy by Charles Spurgeon.
My quest to understand this thing called joy is a lifelong journey. I don’t want to just say the word; I want to understand what it really means. Oftentimes, the word joy and happiness get intertwined together as one. But they are as different as east is from the west. Happiness is fleeting. It ebbs and flows like our emotions. It’s based on how I feel. I may be happy that I purchased a blouse on sale and had a coupon and scored extra savings. Or, I may be sad when I learn my favorite team lost the super bowl.
Joy, a fruit of the spirit, comes from Jesus, therefore it never leaves. But it can be hindered. Joy isn’t based on being good enough to get it. It’s based on being a child of God and given through the gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8). If I have joy in my heart given to me by Jesus, can it be possible for my joy to be shallow? What does it look like in the believer’s heart?
In How to Have Real Joy, Spurgeon writes,
“This joy of the LORD in our spirits springs from an assurance that our entire future, regardless of what may happen, is guaranteed by divine goodness. We are joyful when we know that, as children of God, the love of God toward us never changes. The believer feels complete satisfaction in leaving himself in the hands of eternal and unchangeable love. However happy I may be today, if I am in doubt about tomorrow, there is a worm in the root of my peace. Although the past may now be pleasant in retrospect, and the present satisfying and enjoyable, if the future looks gloomy and frightening, my joy is shallow.”
(Source: How to Have Real Joy, Charles Spurgeon, pg.72-73, Whitaker House)