Is there anything wrong with wanting “Joy” and “Happiness” in your life? Quite honestly, I want both! However, only one will sustain us in all circumstances.
What is the difference between Joy & Happiness?
From a biblical perspective, we see “joy” and “happiness” as two different things. Joy is a gift from God received when we choose to abide in him. It is based solely on our relationship with God. It will withstand the storms and not be dependent on our circumstances. Have you ever felt this kind of joy? It is incredible and makes no human sense. Our hearts can be full of delight even though our world appears to be crumbling all around us. Joy is dependent on our relationship with Christ, not on our circumstances.
Happiness is entirely dependent on what is going on around us or to us. When things are going well, we are happy, but the minute they take a turn for the worse our happiness goes away. Joy does not have to go away. Don’t misunderstand, I think both are important, but joy is crucial. Recently God put on my heart the word “Joy.” for the year which quite honestly baffled and embarrassed me. Here I am a woman of faith who shares about embracing life in the midst of the unexpected. I know firsthand what it feels like to have peace that transcends all understanding. Plus, I smile lots and usually have a positive attitude.
Why Would God Think I Need More Joy?
Well, slowly but surely he is revealing to me the lessons he wants me to learn. One thing I have discovered as I study the people in the Bible – we all can lose our joy. In crises God and I are tight, and my faith is unwavering. Maybe God’s just a warning me to stay diligent in my time with him. Each of us has a vulnerable spot; mine happens to be when things are going well. I don’t always make him a priority and my dependence on him waivers.
How to Attain Joy
Thank goodness Jesus came and made it abundantly clear how to attain joy. We must abide in him, and he will help us.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” John 15: 9-11 (NLT)
Sometimes we do lose our joy, but the good news is we can find it with ease by turning to God who is always waiting for us.
The following questions might help –
- Am I seeking happiness over joy?
- Do I spend time in his word?
- Is obedience to God a problem?
- Am I abiding in Christ – spending time deepening my relationship with God?
Remember we have to choose “Joy” and trust God will restore it.
What about Happiness?
God does want us to have happiness in our lives but attaining joy must be the priority. Once you are abiding in him, by all means, make sure you are adding things to your life which make you happy. Knowing the difference between the two will be essential to attaining both. Remember joy is a gift! Don’t waste the gift or fail to open it. If you do, you could end up joyless and unhappy all at the same time. We know life is hard and we won’t always have happiness, but joy is something we can have in all circumstances. Do you think there is a difference between joy and happiness? If so, do you struggle to attain one more than the other? Does it have anything to do with your time with God?
“Being with You will fill me with joy.”