Joy Is an Attitude


How much true joy do you have in your life right now? Happiness is an emotion, but joy is attitude.


You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest.  –Isaiah 9:3

One of the great truths about enlarging territory is that it also enlarges our joy.  Yes, it is a challenge; yes, it can have its anxious moments.  But the sheer pleasure of the adventure ultimately outweighs all of that.  Isaiah makes the comparison to people who rejoice at a harvest.

That’s an apt analogy because a harvest is exactly what new borders are all about.  We’ve planted, we’ve sowed, we’ve waited, and the time comes to reap the fruit of all our labor.  Think of the satisfaction you’ve felt after a job well done.  Now consider how it feels when you know you’ve done the work for God’s kingdom.  The joy is immeasurable.


C.T. Studd was a British athlete, a beloved cricket player whose name was a household word in England.  He was also one of the “Cambridge Seven” who, in 1885, made a pact to become missionaries to China.  He inherited a great deal of wealth and gave it all to various ministries and missions.  Studd always encouraged Christians to take risks in doing big things for God, then trust the Lord to supply every need.  Studd lived a border-expanding life and reaped all the joy.

On one of his voyages to China, the captain was a cynical man who had a grudge against every form of spiritual faith.  The man actually studied the Bible for the sole purpose of gathering ammunition for attacking it in his debates with Christian voyagers.  When he got the news that C.T. Studd, the celebrity missionary, was on board, he couldn’t wait to start a dispute.

Studd would not take the bait.  Instead, he simply put his arm around the captain and said, “My friend, I have a peace that passes all understanding, and a joy that nothing can take away.”  How could you argue with that?  The captain finally replied, “You’re a lucky dog,” and walked away.

But he couldn’t get his mind off the sincere joy that was all over Studd’s face.  Before the end of the voyage, he wanted to know how he could become a Christian, too.


Honest question:  How much joy is there in your life right now?  If you measured it on a scale of 0 to 10, where would you rate?  Life may be rolling alone calmly.  You may not be exactly unhappy.  But how much true joy is there?  Happiness is an emotion, but joy is an attitude.  It comes with living right at the center of God’s will.

Many of us don’t experience it because we live too safely, too much in our comfort zones.  When was the last time you took on a challenge that really thrilled you?  Do you think God is preparing you for one right now?  Could it be that, even now, He is planting the seeds for a harvest of joy in your life?

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