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Joy Vs. Happiness

Author: Josué Mora Peña

Is there a difference between these two words:  Happiness and Joy?  Some people may say that they are synonyms. But listen to verse 16 of First Thessalonians, chapter 5, “Rejoice evermore.”  Other versions of the Bible say: “Rejoice always” (Revised Standard Version).  “Be joyful always” says the (New International Version). “Always be joyful”, says the (New Century Version) and the word rejoice means “to give joy”, “to feel joy or to have great delight.”  Please note the prefix “Re” in rejoice.  That means to have joy over and over and over again.  It is not a “one-time feeling.”  To have joy means to have it all the time—in good times and in bad times. Only God can give that joy.

Now let’s see the word happiness. According to the “Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary” happiness means “good fortune, prosperity, a state of well-being and contentment, a pleasurable satisfaction, being favored by luck and fortune.”  So, what this means is that happiness depends on good luck, good fortune.  In other words, if you have what you want, you’re happy. If you don’t have it, you’re unhappy.  Comparing joy with happiness, well, there is a big difference, because the joy comes from Christ. He is the only One who can give it to you and is forever.  Every Christian should have that joy today and tomorrow. 

The Apostle Paul goes on saying in verse 17, “Pray without ceasing.”  As a result of the joy one cannot cease to pray.  Prayer becomes part of the daily life of the Christian.  That’s why Christians pray at all times, not only in emergencies or whenever they feel like it.  Matthew 6:6 says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”  God answers prayer and there’s power in prayer because to whom we pray—God; and in whose name we pray—Jesus.

Verse 18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  A person who is not happy in this life is not going to thank God for anything.  There are people today who can never find a good reason to thank Him.  Those who depend on their luck can never have the real joy that comes from depending only on God and His will.  That joy, my friend, will make a great difference in your life and in your family.  Make sure you ask God to give you that unspeakable joy.

Verse 19 says the following, “Quench not the Spiri.” and Spirit is with capital “S”, meaning the Holy Spirit.  Yes, the Bible tells us that since the moment we repented of our sins and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, God filled us with His Holy Ghost.  Ephesians 1:13 says, “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”  The Christian who has the joy, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 6:22), will never allow the Holy Spirit to be quenched, unless he or she stops praying and forgets to give thanks to God for all His mercies and blessings. The Holy Spirit is a Person, is God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity.  He is a powerful fire that will change and transform our lives to use them for His service.  Who doesn’t know about David and Bathsheba?  The Bible says that He sinned against God but he repented of his sin. He said in Psalm 51:8 “Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which you have broken may rejoice.”  and verse 11 reads, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” continuing with verse 12, it says, “Restore unto me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with your free spirit.”  and immediately God did forgive him, but the consequences came.  Read Second Samuel chapters 11 and 12.

Happiness vs. Joy?  Material possessions will make you happy, if you have them.  If not, you will be unhappy, unless you have the joy of the Lord; a brand new car will bring you happiness, but if it breaks down, you will still be happy, but only if you have the real joy that Jesus gives.  You see, you can be happy and not depend on good luck as long as you possess the real joy that comes of knowing the Lord Jesus, the Author of joy and peace.  In good times or in bad times the joy that Jesus gives you will carry you through all the way to heaven.  Do you have that joy? That peace?  If you don’t, ask God to give it to you.  He will.  Please pray this prayer with me, “Lord God, please forgive all my sins.  Give me that peace and joy that only You can give.  Help me to live the Christian life and to obey you today and always.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:32
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