The Difference between Joy and Happiness


One thing I have come to believe is I have yet to meet someone who wakes up in the morning and says, “Lord, let me have a bad day!” Now, I understand sometimes we have bad days, but I don’t know that I have met a person who specifically asks to have one. There is a difference between “happiness” and “joy”. Happiness is circumstantial. Happiness at times comes because of either your actions or the actions of someone else upon you. For example… If someone gave me free tickets to see the Bucs in the playoffs, I would be happy (actually overjoyed!). If they offered me tickets and then changed their mind and didn’t give them to me, it would make me sad (it would affect my happiness). Joy, on the other hand, comes from God. Joy is something that cannot be taken from us, despite what is going on. Why? Because true joy isn’t circumstantial; true joy is spiritual.

When Jesus spoke his famous Sermon on the Mount, he began to define for us the difference between joy and happiness. He presses the boundaries of things we once believed and cuts through them like a surgeon with a scalpel. He says things like, “Joy when you are poor,” “joy when someone persecutes you,” “joy when things don’t make sense” Why did he say these things? Because he was reminding us of a profound truth and that is someone can take away your happiness in a blink of an eye, but no one can steal your joy, because joy comes from God. It’s what I call the “Be-Attitude.” Try that one this week and allow joy to “be” the attitude you have.