Joy Versus Happiness
What is the difference between Joy and Happiness? Is there a different source from which each grows? Aren’t we just playing with words? Don’t they mean the same thing?
To the Christian, is there a difference between Joy and Happiness?
I will endeavor to answer these questions as I think, from my Christian point of view, about Joy and Happiness.
Let me preface my thoughts by stating that I believe there is a difference in the way the Christian looks at Joy vs. Happiness. Let me state that my belief is that Joy is a much deeper expression of emotion, thought and spiritual expression than what is seen as happiness in the world view of happiness. As a Christian, I believe the Joy that I’m endeavoring to discuss is a direct result of allowing the Spirit of God to control one’s life. I am basing my discussion on the Scripture that says “…When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
I see no mention of the word for Happiness in that list of fruit that the Holy Spirit will produce in us. I believe that Happiness is a by-product of the Holy Spirit as He produces love in us as we allow Him control of our lives. I believe that this is a process that begins when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and continues until we are in the presence of God Himself, in eternity.
Much of what we call Happiness in this life is an emotion that is situation-driven. By that I mean that much of what we consider Happiness is related to our station in life and our well-being, physically and economically. The Joy that I speak of is not related to any specific life situation. It stems from a relationship of love and trust. This Joy is not dependent on my material wealth, my physical strength, or lack thereof, or anything that I may have or do. It is dependent only on the love of God for His children. He has said that He is love. He is the wellspring of this Joy of which I speak. It may sound presumptuous, but it really isn’t. It is a calm assurance that God loves me and I trust His word that says if I accept His son and ask Him, He will flow through me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I’m trying to communicate that Joy is not something that is dependent on the day-to-day struggles and pleasures of life. I can be joyous even in times of stress and trouble because I know that God loves me and that is the only basis for my Joy.
I know I don’t always personify these thoughts, but it is my aim and goal in life to become like Him, in as many ways as I possibly can each and every day. Out of this Joy grows a calmness in every situation, whether happy or not. I can truly face tomorrow with a deep-seated Joy that provides strength and peace in the midst of the storm.
The Path Continues…