“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
God wants us to be joyful. The Bible even commands that we “count it all joy” even when we encounter trials. Does this sound good to you?
I think this idea—misunderstood—can easily be seen as a burden.
“I have to be happy even when bad things are happening? If I’m not happy does that mean I’m sinning?”
Indeed, if this is what the Bible was saying, it would be a burden. Thankfully, it is not! There is a big difference between “happiness” and “Joy.” Happiness, as many understand it today, is a pleasant emotional state. Joy is often used in this same sense so it is easily confused with happiness, but it is actually much more!
Joy is an overall and ultimate sense of well-being. It is the knowledge that everything is okay. We are not called to always be happy, but we are called to always be joyful. Why?
There are a couple very important reasons for this.