Happiness vs Joy

Happiness vs Joy

Happiness: I Just Want to be Happy

Happiness: I Just Want to be Happy
I’ve heard much recently in the media about the human measuring gauge of life…happiness. Phrases like “I just want them to be happy!” have been used to quell objections to self-destructiveness. The most damaged among us are running roughshod over their lives and over the lives around them, all to pacify a desire for happiness. But happiness isn’t the measuring gauge for actual life; joy is the lasting fruit of true contentment.

Happiness: Friends and Family

I remember in my late teens when I was highly self-destructive, friends would say, “I just want John to be happy.” I was living in a van and doing drugs, but their goal for me was to be HAPPY. I’d made happiness for myself because I was doing what I wanted, but I was not content or experiencing any joy. My happiness was propped up on irresponsibility, selfishness and willful behavior that left me empty. My happiness pursuit was set to cover up and mask a deep sadness.

Happiness: A Good God

How can a good God not do what pleases me? Doesn’t God support my happiness? If He were actually good, He would want me to be happy!

God is good but His goal is not for me to be happy. Happiness is a human measuring gauge based on happenings. It fluctuates with activity and situations. When all is in my order, I am happy; if not, I’m sad. Happiness is fleeting and flutters in the wind. It’s a human attempt to mimic joy based on my thoughts, my will and my emotion. Conversely, God supports my actual JOY, which is found only in Him, His design and His purpose for my life.

Amazing that I’ve believed the Creator of me and the Author of my life has less sense about me than I do. Though He designed me for fulfillment, I have often believed I knew better. But all my pursuits of happiness only left me vanquished to continue on a dead end path of searching. Happiness is folly, like the search for the Wizard of OZ.

Momentary happiness is found only in happenings, while joy is found in purpose. When we connect with our God-given DNA of purpose, we find lasting joy regardless of happenings. Happiness is by chance. It’s of my own making. It’s aligning circumstances to suit me. Joy, on the other hand, is fulfillment that overrides situation. Joy is lasting and spills into eternity.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

I’m for the internal reality of JOY, rather than the external experience of happiness. Not that I won’t experience happiness…but it’s not my goal. Joy means to be exceedingly glad and that gladness is found in His design, His plan, and HIM.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT

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    • Sam

      This one soaked in. Thank you John. That last Scripture is a beacon of light too.


    • Irene

      “Amazing that I’ve believed the Creator of me and the Author of my life has less sense about me than I do. Though He designed me for fulfillment, I have often believed I knew better.” Me too John, resulting in many regrets. I am learning that as I practice His presence, the reality of His Life in me, I realize the joy of which you write. Thank you.

      Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

    • wanda

      WOW! Thank you, John. I needed that and I know others who need it to, but I pray I wont try to shove it down their throats.

    • Marsela

      Thank you John! Yes, happiness is temporary, fleeting, since it’s of our own making is shakable. Joy is lasting as the source of it is God.
      As I’m reading this I’m reminded of The Lord Jesus ” You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness, therefore God, Your God has anointed You with the oil of gladness above your companions”.
      We can’t make joy happen. Joy is a “product” of loving righteousness and not living in lawlessness, but living by the Law of The Spirit of Life, being governed by The Holy Spirit.

    • Annalie du Toit

      I pray that the joy of the Lord will so increase in our lives, that we will not even THINK about the counterfeit!

      PS: thank you for the care and love in placing the pictures for the posts. The ones in Jennifer’s last post really blessed me.

      Love and joy!

    • Delia Pellegrino

      Joy is not about the outer man but the inner man.
      Acrostic for JOY= J- Journeying O- Outside Y- Yourself

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