Joy and happiness are not the same. Being happy is a feeling of pleasure or content from the environment the person is experiencing. It is manufactured by self-centered pleasure-seeking motives. It is temporary and dependent upon external factors which include what others say and do. This explains why some people can be happy in the morning and sad that afternoon. The feeling of being happy is produced from the five senses. One example, “It makes me happy to eat chocolate!” This type of happiness comes from pleasure producing perceptions which can lead to addictions. If finding happiness is a goal, the pleasures of the five senses will never satisfy and a person will always be looking for more to make them feel happy. This is the trap. Pleasure seeking often enslaves people in a vicious cycle of addiction. Happiness through the senses comes when a person takes the easy path. A new home, car, peice of jewelry, new clothes, having an affair, drinking, drugs and sex may give a person a temporary feeling of happiness but these things don’t produce long-lasting joy. Most people continue to find happiness through external stimuli running one to the other. Some people search for years in this process.
Joy, however is abiding or enduring. It comes from a feeling of contentment deep inside a person. It is not dependent on external factors but an inner sense of value, purpose, fulfillment or satisfaction. Joy doesn’t flow from external situations. It flows from your will and your emotions deep within. It is a choice! You have the right to choose to have joy or to be miserable. Nobody can make these inner choices for you. How can joy be taken or lost? We either allow it or lose the will to make ourselves better. Even though our environment can play a big factor on our happiness, joy can still be present. Corrie Ten Boom was a Christian holocaust survivor who could have gave up during her Nazis camp but she kept her joy. She did not allow her present moment steal what she had on the inside.
If you find yourself chasing after happiness through “stuff” or through others making you happy, it will not last. To find the true joy in which you are searching for is not in the temporary but in the eternal. Your very core being, your soul cries out for joy. Joy comes from knowing Jesus Christ in a relationship. It is having Him reside within your being. It is the state that results from knowing and serving God. Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts. God Himself knows joy, and He wants His people to know joy. The Bible tells how joy continued to characterize those who followed Jesus. Joy in the Christian life is in direct proportion as believers walk with the Lord. They can rejoice because they are in the Lord. Joy is a fruit of a Spirit-led life. Sin in a believer’s life robs the person of joy. When a person walks with the Lord, the person can continue to rejoice even when troubles come. Joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all that God has given. The Bible distinguishes joy from happiness from pleasure. Paul referred to false teachers as “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. It also warns that self-indulgent pleasure-seeking happiness does not lead to happiness and fulfillment. One of the stories tell of the sad testimony of one who sought to build his life on pleasure-seeking. The search left him empty and disillusioned. Cares, riches, and pleasures rob people of the possibility of fruitful living. The self-indulgent person, according to is dead while seeming still to be live.
There is a difference between joy and happiness. Which one are you looking for?