True Joy

My cable company recently sent a pamphlet to me. The title on the front says, “Happiness is only a power button away.”

This is quite a promise: happiness when I turn on my TV and cable box, joy when I watch my favorite sports team, contentment when I catch the latest installment of a sitcom, happiness when I catch a movie, joy when I see the latest reality show, etc…

My cable company promises something that they cannot deliver, yet they do describe a lie that I have often embraced. They cannot deliver true, lasting happiness, nor can I find the source of joy through my TV. I will not find enduring joy in any one of the 70 or more channels I can surf. I will not find soul-satisfying pleasure and contentment from anyone except the living God.

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Jesus encourages us to find joy in obedience to him (John 15:11) and consider trials to be joyful (James 1:2). God gifts us great gifts to bless us: material blessings, wonderful friendships, closeness with siblings, a spouse, children, etc. Joy may come through a variety of means, but the source of joy is the God who gives each of every good thing.

God may be glorified, and should be glorified, through the television programs we watch. He can feed our hearts and increase our joy in him through a quality program. But remember that happiness is a matter of our hearts and not just simply the result of turning on the power button to our TV. It isn’t found in the new car we get, the clothes we wear, the friends we hang out with, or the boy friend or girl friend we want.

Look around at the advertisements on TV, in magazines, or on websites. Observe the messages of the marketing pros. They want us to think we will find happiness in things. But don’t believe the lie. Recognize the false message and reject it. Look to God for true and lasting joy.

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