We Can Withstand and Overcome Anything (Part 47) – Joy vs. Happiness

by Rick

Today we continue our series “God is faithful!”  The Lord led me to 2 Corinthians 4.  In this passage, we are looking at what it looks like to believe God is faithful.  Because of God’s faithfulness towards us, we can withstand and overcome anything!

(2 Corinthians 4:1, 7-13, 16-18 TPT)

1  Now, it’s because of God’s mercy that we have been entrusted with the privilege of this new covenant ministry. And we will not quit or faint with weariness.

7  We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that this immeasurable power will be seen as God’s, not ours.

8  Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option.

9  We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. 

10  We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 

11  We consider living to mean that we are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 

12  So, then, death is at work in us but it releases life in you.

13  We have the same Spirit of faith that is described in the Scriptures when it says, “First I believed, then I spoke in faith.”  So we also first believe then speak in faith. 

16  So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. 

17  We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, 

18  because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things.

1.  You are both human and divine, and the better you understand this reality, the more joy and peace you will experience.  

I will attempt to explain this point as simply as I can.  I pray you get it because this revelation is key to walking with God. 

— You were born into this world as a mere human.  When Adam sinned, the Holy Spirit was removed from man.  Adam died spiritually at that moment.  Jesus came to restore everything Adam lost.  Part of that restoration is the restoration of the Holy Spirit inside of man.  This happened 50 days after Jesus’ crucifixion, on the Day of Pentecost.  Once the Holy Spirit was restored, the New Testament church was born.

— You did not live under the Old Testament (or Covenant).  You were born under the dispensation of the New Covenant, but you were still living without the Holy Spirit, resigned to living life as a mere human, until the day you were Born-Again.

— The day you were Born-Again, you were born from above.  From that day to this day, heaven is your home.  You are no longer just a human being seeking to have spiritual experiences.  You are a spiritual being, born from heaven, having natural (or human) experiences in this world.

— You are a spirit.  The real you, which is your spirit, was Born-Again.  The day you were Born-Again, the Holy Spirit connected with your spirit, making you a child of God.  The Holy Spirit is your direct connection to the Father, who is an eternal Spirit.  God is spiritual, not sensual.  So you cannot live by your senses.  You must live by your spirit.  The real you, which is your spirit, is living in an earth-suit, a flesh and blood body, for now.  This makes you both human and divine.  

— Every day, you get input from your five physical senses.  That input comes through your human body.  At the same time, you should be getting input from your spirit, which is connected to the Holy Spirit.  The input you receive from the Holy Spirit is input from heaven.  So you are living in two realms, basically, at the same time.  You are getting input from your body (as you read emails, watch TV, talk to your friends, read books, etc.), and you are getting input from your spirit (as God speaks to you through His Word, through sermons, through books about Him, through your friends (at times), through dreams while you are sleeping, open visions while you are awake, and certainly through prayer).  

— The input you get from your body is input you can verify with your senses.  Therefore, you say it “makes sense.”  However, the input you get from the Holy Spirit is not something you can validate with your senses.  This then requires faith.  Faith perceives as real the things God speaks to you, even when you have no sense-realm evidence to support them.

— Once you are Born-Again, the Bible teaches you to live by what you can perceive from God and not by natural sight anymore.  This is why Paul famously said, “We walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).  The Easy To Read Version of 2 Cor 5:7 reads, “We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see.” 

— God wants you to get to the point where what you SEE in the Spirit is more real to you than what you can see with your natural eyes.  The passage we have been looking at says, “we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal” (2 Cor 4:18).

— Faith is peering into God’s realm, spending time with the Holy Spirit, and then coming back to the earth realm (when you leave your prayer closet) and living off of what you saw.  This is why the opposite of faith is not doubt.  The opposite of faith is not fear.  The opposite of faith is natural sight.  Before you were Born-Again, you lived your life based on what you were able to see in the natural and on the input your body (your earth suit) received from this world.  But now that you are Born-Again, you are supposed to live your life off based on what you SEE in the Spirit, on the input your spirit receives from God’s realm. 

— If you don’t understand what I am teaching in this point, it is easy for you to lose your joy and peace.  Because you will be living as a mere human, basing your life on the things (events, circumstances, changes, whims, etc.) of this world.  But if you get the revelation that I am sharing, you can get to the point where you are not moved by what you see or by what happens to you, you are only moved by what the Holy Spirit is revealing, and that is the point I pray you get to.

— The day you get to the point where what you perceive from God is more real to you than what you see in this world is the day you will be truly living by faith.  Faith perceives the will of God and stands on what is revealed, even when it ‘flies in the face’ of what you can see in this world.

2.  Joy vs. Happiness.

A couple of weeks ago, I preached a message where I said, “Those who are focused on happiness can never re-happy, but I can always re-joice.”  My cousin Eddie (yes, that is his real name) and I talked about it afterward.  This is something many people don’t understand.  

To understand what joy is, I believe we first need to understand what it is not.  Joy is not happiness.  Most people are familiar with happiness.  Americans especially, because the phrase, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most famous lines in the Declaration of Independence of the United States, listed among our “inalienable rights.”  The average person will tell you that they “just want to be happy.”  But for the believer, we must understand that while happiness is good, joy is much better.  Why?  Because the word happiness comes from the Old English word happenstance, where we get circumstance.  Therefore, happiness is contingent upon circumstances.  If my circumstances are good, I can be happy.  If my circumstances are bad, then I may be sad.  This makes happiness is contingent upon happenings.  That being the case, we can see how fragile and whimsical our happiness, or the pursuit of it, can be.

— Joy is not happiness.  Joy is a state of being.  

— The Bible teaches us that God’s joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit.  The Holy Spirit Himself, God’s presence in us, enables us to operate in His supernatural joy.  

Joy includes the blissful qualities of happiness, but it is not limited to its conditional circumstances.  

— I can be joyful, even when my circumstances don’t support me being happy.

— This past Sunday, my Pastor, Tony Brazelton, said, “To be happy, things have to be right, go right, and stay right.”  But you can have JOY 24/7/365.  JOY is an inside job!

Since happiness is contingent on happenings (or circumstances), people try to control circumstances so they can be happy.  We are coming to the end of the year.  This is the time of the year when people in Corporate America switch jobs.  They leave one job for another because they think the “grass is greener” at another company.  They are seeking to manipulate/orchestrate their circumstances to align in such a way that produces happiness for them.  But the truth is, many Christians who live this way are always moving, shifting, and chasing things because they are living like mere humans.  They are relying on their humanity and not their divinity.  In many cases, they are moving without even asking God about it.  And when they wind up somewhere they are not supposed to be, they say things like, “God, why did you let this happen to me?”  The truth is, they never even consulted with God.

— If you live your life in pursuit of happiness and you fail to tap into the JOY OF THE LORD, you are living as a mere human, and you will most certainly miss out on God’s best.  You will get to heaven only to realize that you failed to do what God sent you to this planet to do because you spent all your time trying to be happy.  Paul went through things that did not make him happy.  I will stop here for today, but tomorrow I will focus in on these words from Paul, “We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison.”

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me!  I LEVEL UP by looking at everything from Your point of view.  Because of Adam, I was born as a mere human.  I was born without the Holy Spirit.  But because of Jesus, I was Born-Again.  The Holy Spirit has been restored to me.  I have YOU living on the inside of me.  I am not a here human anymore.  I was born from above.  Heaven is my home.  I get my orders from headquarters, heaven, every day, through the Holy Spirit.  What the Holy Spirit reveals to me is MORE REAL to me than what I see with my natural eyes.  I walk and live by faith.  This means I live by every Word You speak to me and every revelation You give me by Your Spirit, even when what You are revealing does not line up with what I am seeing or experiencing in this world.  Living this way, I get to enjoy the life of the Spirit every day.  The Holy Spirit may lead me to face challenges and endure difficulties.  When He does, these may not be circumstances that support me being happy.  But whether I am happy about it or not, I always have JOY!  Which is why I keep saying: GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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