Theologian and author C.S. Lewis once said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The question is what do we mean when we talk about joy? Is Lewis talking about happiness? General elation? Or is he getting at something deeper?
According to dictionary.com, joy means “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure.” However, I believe there are actually two kinds of joy: earthly joy and spiritual joy. Earthly joy is fleeting and so is happiness; both are utterly circumstantial. While earthly joy and spiritual joy are “caused by something exceptionally good,” spiritual joy—which is joy in in its most raw, pure form—is derived only from the One who is most good. This is the “infinite joy” that Lewis longs for humanity to reach for.
“Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:20
“The precepts of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalm 19:8
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2
Spiritual joy is a gift from God. It is found in His presence, in His Word, and can even be experienced during our trials because it has nothing to do with our circumstances. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit; therefore, it is a a gift we can ask God to grant us more of. I pray that this coming week you will receive the blessing of true joy from our good, giving Father.