Happiness vs. Joy

Monday, March 18, 2013 (All day)

What's the difference between happiness and joy?

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[Steve Myers] When we face challenges in our life, we look to the Bible. And there's one passage that sometimes has often caused a little bit of concern because on the outside it seems like it doesn't make much sense. It's found in James:1:2, and in that passage it says, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials." And on the outside that seems like that doesn't make much sense because why would having a trial, going through a challenge or a difficulty be a joyful experience? And that's where we run across an interesting contrast between what is happiness and what is joy. And there's a difference between those two things and that's why God inspired the word joy to be used instead of happiness.

Now, certainly the two can intersect in many different circumstances, but God pointed to the fact that joy is one of those things that can get us through challenges. I mean think about the differences between these things. Where is happiness based? Normally happiness is based on our circumstances. Circumstances determine whether we're going to be happy or not. And yet joy points us in a totally different direction. Joy points to the fact that we need God. Because of God and because of His promises and because of His blessings, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what events are going on in our life, we can have a deep confidence and assurance and a joy that otherwise would not be possible.

And that kind of brings us to another aspect between these two concepts. You see, happiness can often be fleeting because it's dependent on what's happening around us. But joy is definitely not that way. So we find that happiness is oftentimes temporary. Let's put an extra A and R in here, alright. Temporary. Yet, what is joy? Boy, when we read the Bible since it's not based on our circumstance and our events, it's based on God, what is God? God is eternal. So what we find is joy is lasting. It continues to last beyond whatever the circumstances are around us. And so whether circumstances are painful or difficult, joy continues. And in fact, it can continue to grow even though our circumstances may be difficult. So oftentimes especially at this time of the year, all of these people running around wearing green and all that sort of thing. It reminds me that happiness can be associated with, well, lucky circumstances. And yet just the opposite is true with joy because joy carries on true meaning because it points to where our hope lies. And in fact that's one of the interesting things that you'll find in 2 Peter. I think it gives us an interesting perspective on our circumstances and whether we're focused on just happiness or whether we can have a deep seated joy.

So when you look to 2 Peter, right at the very beginning of that chapter in verse 3, well let's start in verse 3 and verse 4. It says some remarkable things here. It tells us that because of God, because of His divine power it says, "He's given us to us all things." And it says, "All things that pertain to life and to godliness." And then in verse 4 it says, "We've been given exceedingly great and precious promises." And so that points us to how we're able to find joy even among difficult circumstances because those are things that don't change. Those are things that are constant. And so no matter the circumstances we can count it all joy when we fall into difficulties and challenges because our joy is based on God.

That's BT Daily . We'll see you next time.


hippie69's picture

I am one who totally believes what has been said here. But after years and years of prayer, am still unable to find this joy that is being spoken about.

The Stray Child

The Stray Child's picture

Hello sir, I simply wanted to comment and say that this is a perfectly accurate depiction of the differences between happiness and joy. I'm an 18 year old male, about to graduate high school, and though I've felt the presence of God (the Holy Spirit) in my life since my voluntary baptism around about the age of 13 or 14, I have struggled since then to maintain that feeling of serenity and peace that we can only get through the love of our Lord and Savior. I have struggled with challenges as a young adult, and keeping my faith in a world that can sometimes seem faithless. Many of my own friends are unbelievers, and just recently I had/have fallen in love with an unbeliever. Many times, in my weakness, I have faltered and even broken Commandments. The trials therein are very challenging, but when we look to God, we can see His love as demonstrated clearly through Jesus and resounding throughout the Scripture. I'm only now realizing that I should read the Bible more, and find an agreeable church to attend regularly. I simply wanted to thank you, and others like you, for helping to further the support and enlightenment of our Christian faith.

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