Why joy is wiser than happiness

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt says that “people need adversity, setbacks, and perhaps even trauma to reach the highest levels of strength, fulfillment, and personal development.”

I really wish that wasn’t true! After all…

Who WANTS adversity?
Who WANTS setbacks?
And who WANTS trauma?

Not me!

But regardless of whether we WANT those things are not, many of us can personally testify to the fact that various trials have sometimes made us stronger, wiser, more resourceful, more humble, or more compassionate.

In James 1:2-3 we read, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Again, that’s a hard verse to take, especially when you’re going through something tough.

But the Greek word for “joy” in this verse is chara. It doesn’t mean care-free happiness. It has to do with fixing your eyes on God, trusting in his goodness, and knowing that he will provide for you through the ups and downs of life. In this sense, joy is wiser than happiness: It has fought a few battles, gained some experience, and learned how to be steady in the wind.

Today, I want to encourage you to persevere. Pain won’t persist forever. Your hurts don’t have to define you. Your challenges will one day disappear in the rear view mirror.

Fix your eyes on God, trust in his goodness, and know that he will provide for you through the ups and downs of life.

Joy is wiser than happiness: It has fought a few battles, gained some experience, and learned how to be steady in the wind.

By Matthew Ruttan

–Today’s “Up!” is related to my most recent podcast: “Emerging from the ashes of what you’ve been through.” Listen in to the 25-minute message here. Enjoy!
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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