I’m working in a series of training topics with my kids before they fly the coop and this is February’s chosen-out-of-a-cup winner…the difference between happiness and joy. 

Happiness defined: the quality or state of being delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing
Joy defined:the emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying 

I’ve heard parents say that all they want is for their children to be happy. I do not want you two to be happy, but I do want you to have joy. 

Happiness has at its root word “happen”…happiness is based on something that happens to you. You are happy when you get the new electronic device you’ve been wanting. I will be happy in a month when I can eat Chipotle again. Happiness is something you feel, which means it’s something that can go away very quickly. 

But joy is something you have, something you are. It’s something deep down. It’s not based on anything outside of us, it’s not based on our circumstances. We can be in the worst place in of our lives with horrible things happening to us and we can feel joy all at the same time. And the reason we can experience joy is because we are Christians. 

The Bible speaks of happiness only 26 times. But it talks about joy and being joyful 270 times. 

God does not promise us happiness. In fact, God promises us that we will experience heartache and difficulties. 

Jesus says in John 16:33,“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

But here is why as Christians we can have a joy that will sink deep down and keep us steady and never go away no matter how we feel: 

We can have joy because…
1.       Jesus died on the cross for your sins.  He took on your sin so that you wouldn’t have to pay the price.  Heaven is now your home; hell is not.  What you have to look forward to at the end of this life far outweighs the troubles and far outweighs even the best happinesses.
2.       Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to comfort you. You are never alone.
3.       Whatever you ask the Father in Jesus’ name will be given to you, if it’s in his will.
4.       Jesus promised to come back and to put an end to suffering.  He is coming for us one day, and he will make everything right that is now wrong.
5.       It’s one of the fruit of the Spirit and God wants us to have it.

Though it’s great to be happy, happiness doesn’t last. Joy always will. 

Jesus, please fill us with your deepest joy that will take us through anything.  Amen.

If this post helped you, “Moving On as a Christian Single Mom” is for you, found here.


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