Joy Vs Happiness


Joy VS. Happiness

Daniel Ruegg


Today we’ll be spending some time in God’s word discussing the differences between happiness and joy.  Are you happy today?  If you had a gauge or a dial that indicated your level or degree of happiness, where would it read?  What kinds of things have an effect on your happiness tank being full?  When the tank gets low, does your joy leak out with it?  According to James, the things which cause our happiness levels to rise and fall don’t have to have an impact at all on our joy.  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance,” (Jm. 1:2-3).  While trying

circumstances in our life certainly do not make us happy, our joy in the midst of those varying difficulties can remain constant.  While this passage in James reminds us not to confuse happiness with joy as they are not the same thing, a passage in the Psalms helps us distinguish the two by reminding us that Joy is way more powerful and fulfilling than happiness.  “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.  In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety,” (Ps. 4:7-8).  Kind of reminds me of the difference between laughter and screams which served as an energy source to power the infrastructure of the monsters in Monsters Inc.  Both making a child scream as well as getting them to laugh fuelled their energy needs, yet laughter was a much more potent form with a higher force of surging power.  This is a key difference as well between happiness and joy.  Even when both our happy and joy tanks are completely full, joy is the dominant force of the two.  It begins to become even more apparent when we identify, as David points out, that God is ultimately the One who has the key effect on our joy.  You have put gladness in my heart...You alone, O LORD.”  God has such an overwhelmingly more powerful effect on our joy than anything else does upon our happiness because it effects our soul which is eternal, and is fuelled solely be eternal components. 



  • God’s Word Brings Joy


“The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart...” (Ps. 19:8)


  • God’s Powerful Works Bring Joy


“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands,” (Ps. 92:4)


  • God’s Salvation Brings Joy


“And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household,” (Acts 16:34)


  • The Holy Spirit Brings Joy


“...having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,” (1 Thess. 1:6)


Thanks to the many eternal components of God’s existence and presence in our lives, the joy He brings to us can remain completely full even when our happiness is running low.  “...In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy,” (2 Cor. 7:4 ESV).