Thermometer or Thermostat

I love the word joy and how it is used in the Bible. It is meant to be a state of mind not just a passing emotion.  Paul speaks in the New Testament about rejoicing in the Lord always and being full of joy. Joy is defined in the dictionary as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”.  I actually don’t like this definition much because it sounds so temporary to each situation.  The Psalmist pens a Psalm where you can feel the joy deep in his heart. Check this out….

4 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth;
       burst into songs and make music.
 5 Make music to the Lord with harps,
       with harps and the sound of singing.
 6 Blow the trumpets and the sheep’s horns;
       shout for joy to the Lord the King.
 7 Let the sea and everything in it shout;
       let the world and everyone in it sing.
 8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
       let the mountains sing together for joy. (Psalm 98:4-8 NCV)

I remember as a kid singing the song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart”.  I also have a sister named “Joy”.  I thought about this word for a long, long time. I still like the definition of this word that speaks to a “state of being” rather than a feeling that comes and go.

Warren Wiersbe, a Pastor/Writer once used the following illustration to describe the difference between JOY &

HVAC Controller has both a Thermometer & Thermostat built right in!

Happiness. He said that “Happiness” is like a thermometer – it adjusts to the environment it’s in. It fluctuates constantly and it tells you the temperature of the environment. The thermostat, on the other hand, SETS the temperature of the room. In other words, the thermostat sets the environment rather than fluctuating with it.  I really like that analogy.

Happiness is a euphoric feeling that comes when something good happens. Joy is a state of mind that is set from deep within my heart and is not dependent on my feelings or my surroundings.  Joy comes from knowing Jesus. Joy comes from a deep commitment to Him and trusting Him with the details of life.  I want to be a thermostat instead of a thermometer!

Pressing On!

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