Hello! I felt led to write about joy vs. happiness because I know that so many of us mistake one for the other. Prayerfully by the end of this post, you will have a better understanding and desire to pursue joyful living 🙂
Let’s first break down the difference between happiness and joy:
Happiness is temporary pleasure we gain from this world. Keyword: temporary. It is based on circumstance and not really on anything eternal. It happens when we get a raise or a promotion, a new car, financial blessings, or a vacation. But happiness doesn’t last long because it is from the world. Sooner or later that excitement is going to dwindle away and you’re left looking for something else to give you happiness. Why do we look to perishable earthly treasures to give us “joy?”
Ever wonder why our mood changes from happiness to disappointment/anger/bitterness/envy/sadness so quickly? It’s because we let our circumstances dictate our mood and energy. Happiness is more superficial than joy. When our happiness relies on the good things that are happening in our lives, we easily become tossed around and knocked down by tumultuous waves of life.
- “ Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” ~1 John 2:15-17
- “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” ~Ecclesiastes 5:10
- “ And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” ~Matthew 16:26
Joy is from God. It is eternal. It’s a deep elation that comes from what only God can give. God is the source of all joy and we experience joy when we experience God. His presence, promises, love, His fullness, protection, His acceptance and favor ALL bring joy to our lives. No one can take our joy away…not even the craziness of this world or anyone living in it. Why? Because we’re not joyful when life is perfect (there’s no such thing), we’re joyful because we serve a perfect God who is on our side! How can anyone or anything take away something that God has freely given us?
Can one experience joy on their worst day? Can one still be joyful even when all hell is breaking loose in their life? Yes! Crazy, perhaps…impossible, not at all. Being joyful in such a whirlwind of a world does not make us inconsiderate of what is happening around us. We have deep joy because we know God and we trust that He knows what He’s doing. We know that God lives and He will fulfill all of our needs if we seek Him and keep Him first (Matthew 6:33).
Because of God, our joy is unbreakable.
- “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” ~James 1:2-4
- “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13
- “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” ~Psalm 118:24
Joy comes in the morning because we know that God is in control and that He will do great things for us every day. His favor is upon you.
6 Ways to Pursue Joyful Living
- Get to know (more of) God. Knowing who God is and the abundance of what offers will always bring you joy. He is love, peace, security, provision, protection, the living Word…He is everything! Talk to God, tap into His word as often as you need to, and full yourself up with His character.
- Remember that joy lasts eternally and happiness is only temporary. You will not be able to take money and smartphones with you when you enter Heaven. Everything materialistic we’ve gain from this world will be taken away. Joy is found in God, not worldly treasures and personal accomplishments.
- Seek God’s face when you’re down. This world is not our friend and will not give us the peace and joy that God can give us. When this world pushes us down to our knees, God is the only one who can bring us back up. Notice how we desire joy the most when we experience sorrow…!
- Look to God for joy and fullness. Spend time in God’s presence daily. We will be devoid of joy if we don’t spend enough time with Him. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” ~Psalm 16:11
- Obey God. “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.” ~Matthew 16:27 On Judgement Day, the Lord will judge our actions. Life is not about making money, having the nicest house, or popularity. It’s about serving God with our gifts and talents, pursuing our calling, and advancing His kingdom by ministering to lost souls with our gifts. It’s about finding completion in God and being totally dependent on Him. I’m going to throw this in and say that if God is our ultimate source of joy, we will obey Him if we really want to live with Him for all eternity.