Happiness vs. Joy (September 10 & 17, 2017)

There are numerous things that make us happy in life.Some particular thing makes us really happy
Picture yourself in this place described below:

  1. Horse poop in the street
  2. Children crying and whining, and some times even adults whining
  3. Lots of standing around waiting and doing nothing (long lines)
  4. Need to go through security / metal detectors to get in
  5. It’s hot and you’re uncomfortable
  6. False smiles all around; lots of fake stuff to look at
  7. Your feet hurt all the time
  8. Huge crowds
  9. And it costs a LOT money

You would probably never guess that this partial description based on the observation of the “Happiest place on earth!” ~Disneyland

Happiness can have a range of contentment from “ok” to bliss!
Joy, however, is a stronger emotion.

Happiness tends to be a temporary emotion – meaning an event needs to occur over and over again for us to feel the happiness each time – it does not necessarily last. Happiness never completely satisfies you, although there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s a great emotion.

Joy, though, is an attitude of the heart.
Joy is based not just on a feeling, but on a knowing.

“Well I WANT some of that joy; so how do I get it, especially when I’m going through a horrible situation and life is hard”

There are lots references to happiness and joy in the Bible ~ WHY? Because God wants us to be happy, to be joyful!
However, comparatively, there are only a few verses about happiness and dozens and dozens of verses about JOY ~ mostly in the context of shouting and signing.
Some examples are:

  • Joy: Habakkuk 3:17 – 3:18 tells us that even when we have NO drink, NO food, and NO clothes, we can “rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior”.

  • The Hebrew word used here for JOY = “to spin around with intense emotion”. WHAT?! When I’m hungry, thirsty, and have to no clothes, I can still have so much joy in my heart because I have a Savior, enough so that I spin around?!!?

  • James 1:2-4 tells us that Jesus “who for the JOY set before him endured the cross….”

“Well all this sounds great, and zen, and warm and fuzzy, but a little unattainable in my real life. How do I GET this kind of joy??!! Sounds too good to be true when I’m going through trials such as:”

  • My parents divorcing
  • Friends betraying me, people letting me down
  • Death in the family
  • Work overload, pressure
  • Natural disaster
  • Bad situations that I got myself into
  • Family fights
  • Addictions
  • Loneliness

I Thessalonians 1:6 tells us “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with JOY given by the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 tells us “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.”

“Whew! I don’t have to do this on my own! The source of how I get this JOY is through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s bigger than me, it’s beyond me, it’s not something I have to WORK at to try to make myself or others happy.”

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14 – 30) 3 servants / slaves were entrusted an unequal amount of measurement of money (“talents”) by their Master while he was gone on a trip. They were not given any instructions of what to do with the talents, but the first two servants invested the money and received a “return” on the money, multiplied the talents the Master gave them. The third servant hid the talent; in essence did nothing with it. When the Master returned and requested the money back, he praised and rewarded the first two servants because of what they did with the talents entrusted to them. To the third one, he cursed and sent away. But the key here is that the Master did not reward the first two with money or earthly wealth, he rewarded them with requesting them to “Come and share in your Master’s HAPPINESS” or “Enter into the JOY of your Master.” (Come party with me!! )

“Come share / enter into” are phrases written in / combined in the Greek word eiserchomai = metaphorically – entrance into a condition; begin to be.


The master didn’t want to just reward the servants with something earthly and temporary. He asked them to join him in his JOY, to enter into a state of being with him, a state of JOY with him.

God, like the master, gives us different talents, some more than others, but the reward is the same or equal – JOY, A STATE OF BEING WITH HIM,which as we see from other verses is given to us through or by the power of the Holy Spirit.