The rhythm of the world suggests you’re one purchase away from a better day, the rhythm of God suggests happiness is a gift.

I have a process for my morning cup of coffee. Three level scoops of whole bean coffee, grind on medium, pour kettle-hot water over freshly ground coffee and fill a 10oz porcelain to-go mug. It’s the perfect cup, every time. A few weeks ago, my wife and I bought a mug for someone else. It’s a vacuumed sealed 10oz mug. It looks really cool, and the person I bought it for didn’t pick it up. The longer it sits in my office, the more I want it for myself. The other day, after a frustrating start to the morning, I heard a whisper, “put your coffee in that new mug. It will make today better.”

Just typing this story reminds me of how ridiculous this situation was. The rhythm of the world repeats over and over again, “You’re only one purchase away from happiness.” Nearly every day I’m tempted to buy something that will give me a shot-in-the-arm of pleasure. Unfortunately, shot-in-the-arm-happiness fades as quickly as the novelty of whatever is purchased.

According to God, strength doesn’t come from the store—or a gym—but from “the joy of the Lord.” Joy is not a cheap, shot-in-the-arm, type of pleasure. Joy is rooted in faith that God loves you, wants what’s best for you and is working for his glory AND your good. Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit. It’s not something you can manufacture, create or force. It’s something to ask for. At the same time, joy is something that can be practiced before it’s felt, and by practicing you will find that it becomes real. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.”

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