What’s the Difference Between Joy and Happiness?
In particular, we often confuse joy with happiness. Happiness may be momentary, as it is a result of short-term contentment; but joy, being related to the inner self, is long lasting. It is a deep-seated sense of what God has done and what He is doing. Happiness simply pleases a person, while joy brings warmth to the heart, and contentment to the soul. Probably the easiest distinction to understand is that happiness is dependent on outward circumstances, whereas joy is a spiritual quality independent of outward circumstances.
The Sources of Christian Joy
Joy is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
God’s Presence Brings Joy
In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalms 16:11).“There is a joy which isn’t given to the ungodly, that of those who love thee for thine own sake, whose joy thou thyself art; and this is the happy life to rejoice in thee, and of thee. This is it and there is none other.” – Augustine
Joy is Found in a Personal Relationship With God.
The Holy Spirit is God’s spirit, so when you unlock the presence of God or the Holy Spirit you may be feeling joy. This is the source of joy that I identify with the most strongly. As I write this, I feel my heart, my soul connected with the heart, the Spirit of God. It is an extraordinary contentment or heart happiness.
The Knowledge that God Answers Prayer is a Source of Joy
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Alignment with God’s Will Brings Joy
God’s Word Brings Joy
Serving God with Other Believers is Joyful
The Joy of Hope During Difficulties.
Because joy resides in our soul, it may not prevent us from experiencing negative surface emotions. To the Christian, who is living near to the throne of grace, there are sources of joy unknown to all others. He or she can even “rejoice in tribulation,” and “be glad in the Lord,” while experiencing pain, suffering, and distress. Not that we are insensible to trial and affliction, or that we steel ourselves to their endurance; not that we can gaze unmoved on the wreck of all our hopes, or see, without a tear of agony, beloved ones laid in their silent grave.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).
Jesus told His followers:
Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!” — Luke 6:22-23
The writers of the epistles followed Jesus’ lead:
You received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. — 1 Thessalonians 1:6
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. — James 1:2
One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail. They were beaten; they were imprisoned; and who knew what would happen to them the next day? But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. — Acts 16:25
The kind of joy that gets you singing in jail at midnight with your back bleeding and your life hanging by a thread — that’s joy worth cultivating!
In our culture of instant gratification and constant amusement, it’s hard to understand the suffering the apostles endured for the sake of the gospel. We’ll do anything to avoid trials and tribulations. But often, in an attempt to keep anything uncomfortable from touching us, we miss the very thing God wants to use to lead us to the joy in Him. We can’t avoid difficulties, but amid all our troubles — there is God and His effervescent love.
This doesn’t mean we deny or disguise our feelings. It doesn’t mean we can or should shrug off pain or disappointment or try not to feel sorrow when we have good cause. It means we place our trust in God, and He opens the door to a joy beyond anything we can know on our own: the joy of knowing we are in His hands forever.
Gratitude for Our Salvation Brings Joy
The moment of salvation is inexpressibly joyous. This is our eternal, spiritual delivery from separation from God and our entry into heaven. Jesus came so that we might be saved, and the New Testament testifies that this experience is an occasion for priceless joy; for those converted and for those involved in the process. Many tears of joy have been shed when someone estranged from God, or who has been an enemy of God, has become His adopted son or daughter.
I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. — Luke 15:7
The Joy of Helping Another to Heaven
The Joy of Knowing Christ and His Love for Us.
The Christian rejoices because he has found Christ, “the Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Jesus lived, and suffered, and died that “all that great debt” we owed to law and justice, was washed away.
How to Attain More Joy in Your Life
That brings us back to this matter of how we can be joyful as a matter of discipline or of the will. How is it possible to remain joyful all the time? Paul gives us the key: “Rejoice in the Lord always”. We all can certainly enjoy and appreciate God’s creation but the key to Christian’s joy is its source, which is the Lord. If Christ is in me and I am in Him, that relationship is not a sometimes experience. All our attempts to find joy will be futile if we do not abide in Jesus, because we cannot make ourselves joyful by our own power. But as we live in Christ, His perfect joy will dwell in us and make our experience of joy ever more consistent and full (John 15:10–11).
Even if Christians cannot rejoice in the circumstances, if we find ourselves passing through pain, sorrow, or grief, we still can rejoice in God. We rejoice in the Lord, and since He never leaves us or forsakes us, we can rejoice always.
You who have not discovered your personal relationship with God, have been overwhelmed with sorrow and grief at some time. But when you give your heart to God, He will turn your sorrow into joy. And nothing will be able to steal that joy from you.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.
True joy can be found in Jesus (John 15:11). If you look for God’s work and gifts in your life, you will always have joy. Even in hardship, your joy remains, because it depends on God and His promises, which do not change. If you get caught up in temporary hardships and worldly desires, your joy will be fleeting and weak.
Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are and why you are. The joy of the believer is not bestowed by any man and, therefore, cannot be taken away. When you need nothing more than truth and the love of a good God to bring you peace, then you have settled into the abiding joy that is not rocked by anything.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)
Break forth into joy, sing together, For the Lord has comforted His people. (Isaiah 52:9)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. (1 John 1:1-4)
shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The LORD be exalted,
who delights in the well-being of his servant.”
My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
your praises all day long. (Psalm 35:27–28)
I encourage you to save this post to be reread on unhappy days, thereby realigning your perspective and reminding you of all you have to be joyful about.
“Difference Between Joy & Happiness” on DifferenceBetween.net
“Christian Joy” Grace Gems
“In What Way is Joy the Fruit of the Holy Spirit” on Compelling Truth
“Christian Life is Infused With Joy” by David Jeremiah
“The Key to Christian Joy” by R.C. SPROUL
“Sources of Joy” by Dr Gary Linton
“The Key to Experiencing Joy in the Christian Life” on Compelling Truth
“The Source of Joy” on Ligonier Ministries