Would You Prefer Happiness or Joy?

Recently Victoria Osteen got into hot water with those that still cared about what the Osteens say.  The quote under fire is: 

“When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.”

Nevermind Osteen’s warped view of God’s love, as if the object of affection (us) is so irresistible that God can’t help but do everything within God’s power to make us happy.  How nice of us to say such things about us.  Really, I’m flattered.  No, what concerns me as well is her aim for happiness.

Don’t get me wrong.  I want to be happy.  God wants me to be happy, but with a slight twist.  Happy in God is different than pure happiness.  There’s a purity and virtue that comes with happiness in God than simple human happiness.  The dollar menu makes me happy, but it’s not good for me.  You see happiness and God’s goodness catapults into a different strata.  Into something called JOY.  Joy is a happy heart despite a present pain or difficult circumstance, and when you see it you know exactly what it is.  It comes from within in such a powerful way those around watching suddenly want it…and feel bad for yelling at their kid for eating the last Pop Tart.

Osteen happy is all about you…and by all means play along and call me when life gets tough.  But joy?  Joy calls you beyond yourself into something greater and more marvelous.  In a heartbeat, I choose joy.


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