Let’s set the record straight again because we know that we know that we know that happiness is not joy. Happiness is external and based on immediate circumstances and people. Happiness depends on both. Joy is different. C.S. Lewis says in Surprised by Joy, that, “All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be’.”Joy is mentioned more than 500 times in Scripture. For example, when the fire first came out of the tabernacle, the people, “shouted for joy and fell facedown” (Lev. 9:24). The Psalmist says, “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy” (Ps. 65:8). And in Galatians 5, Paul mentions joy as a fruit of the spirit.
When it comes to your church, is there joy? It’s a difficult question because it doesn’t come with some Barna assessment tools. We’ve listed several ways that might help you see joy flourish. Some of them are obvious, but perhaps a renewed use or a more careful reading will invite additional stabs into the joy Scripture talks about.