Happiness and Joy are two different things.
I can be happy that it was pretty today, that I have food to sustain me, family and friends that love me, and a home that shelters me. And in our world today I could probably get away with replacing happy in the above sentence with joyful; but is that a correct way to describe joy?
So, what is joy?
Here is a definition from dictionary.com:
the emotion of great delight or happiness caused bysomething exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure;elation: She felt the joy of seeing her son's success.
a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something orsomeone greatly valued or appreciated: Her prose style is a pure joy.
the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
a state of happiness or felicity.
verb (used without object)
to feel joy; be glad; rejoice.
So, while joy is a state of great happiness - it is not the equivalent of happiness.
One thing that I would argue is that while those who live for themselves may experience some happiness (and a counterfeit "joy"), I do not believe they ever have true joy. I tend to believe that only those who are truly living for our Lord the Creator have true joy; because true joy comes from Him.
True joy is a strong emotion, much stronger than happiness, and in it's true, pure from - it isn't a selfish emotion.
Here are a few verses on joy (there are SO many more):
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. ~ Psalms 32:11
And Hannah prayed, and said: my heart exulteth in the LORD, my horn is exalted in the LORD; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in Thy salvation. ~ 1 Samuel 2:1
Glory ye in His holy name; let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:10
Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous, praise is comely for the upright. ~ Psalms 33:1
And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation. ~ Psalm 35:9
And, my personal favorite:
Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. ~ Philippians 4:4
Many of the verses I have found on joy have said something like, "I rejoice in Your salvation" or "Rejoice in his salvation". Is not this something to be exceedingly joyful about!?! Indeed, and not only that, but the result of our great joy should be that we live solely for Him and tell others about His salvation and unending love!
This is true joy, the joy that comes from knowing we are His precious children and 'nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ our Lord!' What a powerful truth!
I wonder at how God could love me so much; sinner that I am. Where would I be going without Christ? Oh, I do not even wish to think on that! This is why we have joy; true, pure, exceeding joy. As Christians we should be the most joyful people on earth, abounding in joy that the world will see and want.
In the last verse mentioned above, we see that we must 'rejoice in the Lord always', even in hard times. This is no easy thing to do, but, through Christ all things are possible. Thank God for that truth!
So, joy is not only a wonderful emotion; it is a command. Rejoicing always is no easy command, but it is essential. How will others see and know that we have something different if we have no joy to share? I don't think they will.
I'm talking to myself here as I struggle with being joyful. I want others to see by my life that I serve the one and only Lord and that I find my joy in Him. If I am not joyful, will they be able to see this?
Just some thoughts......
Query of the Day:
Do you have a favorite verse about joy?