What’s the difference?
Joy is defined as a vivid emotion of pleasure.
Happiness is a state of well-being and contentment based on good fortune.
“Joy can be hard. It’s not the same thing as happiness,” – Stephen Colbert
Words have meanings
Too often today, we use similar words interchangeably, leading to words becoming redefined by society. The first fruit of the spirit, love, has been so overused. We even say we love inanimate objects like food or gadgets like our cell phones.
Joy is also overused. People generally mean they experience happiness when they say they’ve experienced it. Happiness is when something happens to make you feel good. The two words are not the same. These two terms are not interchangeable.
So what is joy?
It is more than simple pleasure, delight, or elation. It does not present as a person with a smile on their face, or someone shouting a positive cheer. When you see someone truly display it, there seems to be a supernatural source for it.
Joy comes from God, period. It does not exist without him. There is happiness, even extended happiness, but no joyfulness.
How is it different from happiness?
When I feel happy, it is generally because something good has happened or someone has done something for me. Happiness presents as merry, lively, cheerful, or contented.
Happiness usually comes from some external source, but usually not from God. Your source for happiness could be success at a job, affection from a loved one, or savoring a well cooked meal.
What does God want for me?
God wants you to experience joy. He wants you to read His words, His promises, and find more than simple contentment or well-being in Him.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” – John 15:10-11