“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).
Today I want to talk about the differences between joy and happiness. By understanding the difference between these two words and being able to live out that difference, we can potentially travel through life with much more fulfillment. Joy is a word associated with God and Christianity for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it is mentioned in the bible over and over again during a multitude of different circumstances. It is a word used to describe an inner feeling that one can obtain through salvation and through trust in God. In the bible it is used in situations such as: praying, praising, positive circumstances and negative circumstances. The point I want to make today is that happiness is good, but it is completely circumstantial. If we depend solely on happiness in life we will be let down, but if we have this inner joy, that only God can provide, then we can walk through life with hope for tomorrow.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter: 8-9). Joy comes as a result of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is a result of the hope that is generated from knowing that Heaven is in your future. With this hope, no matter what the circumstance, we can find joy from within ourselves. Why? Because we know that the end result of our life is eternal serenity, Heaven, an eternal life with God: where there is no pain and no fears. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).
We see time and time again, that people without joy continue to search for it, even if they do not know what they are searching for. Look how many books, diets, morning routines, drugs, etc. that claim to be the ultimate key to happiness. The happiness industry is booming because people today are missing something in life. They think it is a problem with their earthly happiness, but what they are really missing is inner joy! The reality is that nothing in this life will give us full-time happiness. There is nothing in this life that can secure our happiness. But having joy can give us the peace to deal with the hard times and it can give us appreciation during the good times. One other really important aspect of joy is the message it displays to others. Joy makes others curious about how someone can be so content during a storm in their lives. Being able to hold on to joy, can become a conversation piece. When others ask how you do it, simply saying Jesus is enough to strike up a fire in the curious persons heart.
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though the flocks disappear from the pen
and there are no herds in the stalls,
yet I will celebrate in the Lord;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17)
Joy is the unexplainable peace that someone can find even though they have lost a loved one. Joy is the hope that someone in poverty can have because they know their earthly status is not the same as their status in Heaven. Joy is the trust in God’s promise that He has already overcome the world, so we only need to be still. When I think of joy I think of the love of God. When I think of joy I think of the comfort of knowing the one who knows every single one of my flaws loves me more than anyone on this earth ever could. “May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.” (Psalm 20:5). Shout for joy, He has already won!
So even if you can’t find anything to be happy about, maybe you can still find joy. If you have salvation find joy in the fact that no matter how tough your life is here on earth, you have hope of Heaven. If you have not received salvation and you feel like you have been searching for happiness lately, I suggest talking to God about it. Dig a little deeper, I bet you will be surprised about the fulfillment you find. Set out to live a life full of joy, not just happiness.