by James Merritt

This content is part of a series.

Joy: When In Joy, Enjoy (2 of 9)
Series: Fruit Of The Spirit - Home Sweet Home
James Merritt
Galatians 5:22


1. There is something that we all do, whether we are little babies or senior adults, that doctors say is such good medicine that it reliefs stress, can cure headaches, fight infections, and even alleviate hypertension. 2. In fact, when we engage in this activity, there are well documented physical affects, many of them akin to modern exercise. Muscles in the abdomen, chest, shoulders, and elsewhere contract; heart rate and blood pressure increase.

3. In one burst of this activity the pulse can double from 60 to 120, and systolic blood pressure can shoot from a normal 120 to 200. Once we stop this activity, heartbeat and blood pressure also dip below normal, which is a sign of reduced stress. Now what this physiologically beneficial activity is, is laughing.1

4. Laughter is good for you, and laughter is healthy. Solomon knew that. He said: ''a merry heart does good like a medicine.'' (Prov. 17:22) but, as you know, we don't always feel like laughing. The reason we laugh, generally speaking, is because something makes us happy, but we don't always laugh because we are not always happy.

5. But there is a delight, a gladness of heart, a rapture in the soul, that goes beyond and above happiness. It is called joy. Now there is a tremendous difference between joy and happiness:

You cannot be happy without being joyful. But you can be joyful without being happy.

Happiness is external. Joy is internal.
Happiness depends on outward circumstances. Joy depends on inward character.
Happiness depends upon what happens to you. Joy depends upon who lives within you.
Happiness is based on chance. Joy is based on choice.

6. The word ''happiness'' comes from an old English word happ, which literally means ''chance.'' It corresponds to the Latin fortuna, which means luck. You see, if things happen the way we want them to happen, the ...

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