Joy and happiness are often perceived as the same thing and although they share common elements, they are in fact, very different. It is joy that gives birth to real happiness. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference as happiness can (and often does) masquerade as joy, and as such, can be temporarily bluffed.
But with joy, it can’t be faked. The difference is seen in the true behaviour of real responses. From where are they extracted? Jesus says, for whatever is in your heart determines what you say. Joy will lead to happiness but happiness doesn’t have the strength or ability to lead to joy. Happiness is fleeting, fickle, deceptive, undependable and selfish. Joy is permanent, consistent, potent, authentic and selfless.
When you sing of joy, and praise God for who He is (when it is easy or outcomes are what we expect – a child graduates with honours or has just been accepted into university; you sell your house in record time in a crawling market; your church breaks ground to start a new building; you get that dream job you’ve been waiting for, or even a good praise and worship time on Sunday) this very well could be joy. But more often than not, what is revealed to us is that, as long as we are walking on the “glory path” — things are going ‘our’ way, the way we want – it’s all good.
Then, someone treats us selfishly, is mean to us, forgets us, or is thoughtless. Uhoh, circumstances have changed – it isn‘t going ‘our‘ way anymore. All of a sudden there’s pressure. What we thought was joy is exposed as only happiness. Happiness is shattered through the proof of what’s in our thoughts and heart as the evidence leaks (or sprays) out through our mouths, countenance and behaviour.
The good man from his inner good treasure, flings forth good things.
And the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse,
flings forth evil things.
Is my joy stronger than the happiness in my marriage?
oozes or sprays flings out when pressure squeezes me?