I went to bed last night unhappy with my last effort explaining joy. I racked my brain for the last 24 hours trying to figure out why joy so often escapes my life and is seldom at the forefront of my thoughts and attitude. Where as happiness is fleeting, joy is a constant. Joy refuses to be dictated by circumstances. Where does that consistency come from? Something is unmovable only when it is attached to something else that is unmovable. Tie a horse to a trailer or a fence and an hour later there they remain. If you tie them to something that is unanchored, then you’re chasing your pony down the highway. Paul’s joy was tied directly to the Father. God, who is unchanging (James 1.17), whose mood is constant, whose nature remains the same, is the unmovable anchor that Paul’s joy and the joy of the Macedonian Church is attached too.
Joy can only be constant when the source and anchor is constant. When we attempt to find joy in money, security, relationships, etc. we ultimately get let down by these things. Only when our joy is tethered to that which is unmoved, can we be filled with joy that transcends circumstances. So what needs to change for me, is my trust in the unchanging nature and character of God, the Father, and his activity in my life. Only then will joy become central to my life.