A word we often confuse with happiness, but note, they are not the same thing. Although these two words are used interchangeably the majority of the time they are starkly different. Joy is a continuous response to Jesus, happiness is an emotion that can change on a dime.
To be completely transparent, joy has been on of my biggest struggles and a lot of it came from fleshly discontentment. Wanting to be a better athlete, a smarter student, have more friends, have a better job with more money, travel the world more than I do now were all things I sat on and allowed to steal my joy. Learning to shift my perspective and thinking of what “joy” really is and what it means to the believer has been a long road, and honestly the battle continues on.
So what’s our definition of joy? Let’s use John Piper’s definition on DesiringGod.org
“Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.”
Joy comes from the Holy Spirit, it’s our response to the freedom and forgiveness we received from Christ. It should be a daily view of gratification. On the other hand happiness changes based on our environment, it’s ok to be sad. Because we live in a broken world, happiness isn’t always an option. We suffer from loss, pain, brokenness, injustice and so on that hurt us and cause sadness, however, it NEVER erases what Christ did.
Let’s look at a few scriptures.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:2-4
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” ~Psalm 94:9
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13
No matter the trail being faced, joy can and should be present in our life, because Jesus is ALIVE and we are FREE. When you wake up in the morning remember that even on your hardest days the victory has already been won, so allow your soul to be overwhelmed with the joy from the Holy Spirit and keep putting one foot in front of the other.