According to Psychology Today, in 2000, only 50 books were published on the topic of happiness. Somebody found an inch and began to scratch, because by 2008, that number had skyrocketed to 4,000 a year. By 2014, there were over 10,000!
Apparently, happiness sells… because we all want to be happy. Yet a better word for what we really desire at the deepest level of the heart is not happiness as much as it is joy.
Happiness is often dependent upon external circumstances. My team wins the game. I’m happy. But not for that long. I get a new phone, and I’m happy. But not for long. This kind of happiness is experienced on the surface and tends to wear off.
Joy is different. It is not dependent upon circumstances. To paraphrase one author, “Joy is a feeling in the soul produced by the Holy Spirit as he reveals the wonder and beauty of God’s grace to us in Jesus in deeper and deeper ways.” It is “a state of mind and an orientation of the heart — a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.”
As the truth of the gospel impacts the human heart at the deepest level of desire, the heart produces powerful feelings of peace, contentment, hope… and joy.
What I want you to know is that were created for joy. Therefore, we shouldn’t wait on joy to just happen. We should pursue joy.
This is what David is doing in Psalm 51:6-12 where we discover three practices that restore joy.