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Editor’s Note: We asked local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers.

If you ask people on the street what they want more than anything, the answer you will get most is, “I just want to be happy.”

If you ask how can I find happiness? You will get many answers, depending upon who you ask and what their values are. Some will say get all you can, and can all you can get and don’t let anyone have any.

Then there is Bertrand Russell who said, “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

If you listen to those around you, there will be a lot of opinions. One says, “Happiness is being married.” Another says, “Happiness is being single.” One cynical sticker reads, “Happiness is impossible!”

For most people happiness is fleeting and can be shallow lots of times. The word happiness itself implies and is associated with happenings, happenstance, luck and fortune. If circumstances are favorable, you’re happy. If not, you’re unhappy.

I think what most people are really looking for is joy, and they get lost along the way and mistake happiness for joy; there is a lot of difference between the two. Happiness is related to circumstances; joy is a gift from God.

Christian joy, however, is directly related to God and is the firm confidence that all is well, regardless of your circumstances. In Philippians 3:1 Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord.” The Lord is both the source and object of Christian joy.

Knowing Him brings joy that transcends temporal circumstances. Obeying Him brings peace and assurance. Even severe trials needn’t rob your joy. James 1:2 says, you should be joyful when you encounter various trials because trials produce spiritual endurance and maturity.

They also prove your faith is genuine, and a proven faith is the source of great joy (1 Peter 1:6-8). Paul also instructs us in Philippians 4:4 to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” We live in a world that is corrupted by sin, but our hope should be in the living God and not a dying world.

One thing about our God: He is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Jude 24). We can stand in full assurance of future glory and eternal joy!

Until that time comes, don’t neglect His Word or despise trials that come or lose sight of your eternal reward. They are key ingredients of your present joy.

Duane Williams is pastor of New Horizons Ministries in Kingsport.

Duane Williams is pastor of New Horizons Ministries in Kingsport.

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Duane Williams is pastor of New Horizons Ministries in Kingsport.