Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Joy vs Happiness

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  Psalms 16:11 NASB
No one likes sadness; at least they shouldn’t.  There are those who seem to thrive on trouble and find energy and identity in being a martyr but most everyone desires to be happy, glad, satisfied and content.  But not all find this joy.  Unfortunately, some seek pleasure in all of life and, like the writer of Ecclesiastes, discover the vanity of life.  Wisdom tells us that there is a difference between being filled with joy and being happy.

Remember seeing bumper stickers proclaiming every conceivable source for happiness? One said, “Happiness is being married;” another countered, “Happiness is being single.” One cynical sticker read, “Happiness is impossible!”
For most people happiness is possible, but it’s also fickle, shallow, and fleeting.  As the word itself implies, happiness is associated with happenings, happenstance, luck, and fortune.  If circumstances are favorable, you are happy; if not, you’re unhappy.  Christian joy, however, is directly related to God and is the firm confidence that all is well, regardless of your circumstances.  It is more than laughter and merriment.  It is contentment and satisfaction with a sense of peace and wholeness.
Happiness may be caused by luck, good fortune or other person-centric pleasures.  Joy is caused by elation at a moment in time.  Joy may not always be about oneself but be about others' contentment also.  Happiness is about the self's pleasure. Happiness may dwell on materialistic, worldly pleasure while Joy is derived from soul satisfying, emotional wellbeing.  While happiness comes from outside things, joy is about inner self.  To quote an example here:  If one wins a lottery of $10,000, they would be very happy but if that person works hard and sets up his business and earns $10,000, he would feel joy. Though the ultimate benefit is the same, the cause being different makes the final emotion different.
The Gift of Joy
Joy is God’s gift to every believer. It is the fruit that His Spirit produces within you.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  Galatians 5:22 NASB  Jesus promised this joy to all who followed Him and said, These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  John 15:11 NASB  The Lord is both the source and object of Christian joy. Knowing Him brings joy that transcends temporal circumstances. Obeying Him brings peace and assurance.

Our hope is in a living God, not in a dying world. He is “able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24).

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