Are we happy or are we joyful?
Happiness is dependent on our circumstances but joy is based on the quiet, confident assurance of God’s love & work in our lives.
Reading through the book of Philippians, it is evident the joy that Paul had in his life. If we consider his circumstances (the time he spent in prison, beaten, starving, shipwrecked & the list goes on) we would wonder how anyone could go through that & still be happy. I can't imagine that he really was at those times, but he found joy in every situation knowing that he was where God needed him to be & that God was with him. He learned to be content, focusing his energy on Christ & obeying him.
Verses like “For me, to live is Christ & to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) & “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) speak of his focus. He had a single purpose here (to spread the word of God), but he had an eternal goal (heaven) which he longed for with all his heart. He couldn't be affected by what happened to him on earth because he was so confident in Christ.
To be so in tune with God, that no matter what is going on around us, we have peace, contentment & even joy.
I know what it is to be in need, & I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
We can face every situation in life & know peace & even joy during those times.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus.
In everything, with thanksgiving, go to God. God is in control.