Joy verses Happiness
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.John 15:11
A definition of joy is: “The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” All of these things are fulfilled in Christ. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit, we have eternal life, and we have the Lord with us confidently guiding us through life to our eternal home. Christ promises to protect our souls from the evil one, and gives us the power to overcome the world. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
Joy, one of the fruits of the Spirit, comes from the Lord and remains with our souls for eternity since the Spirit also remains with us eternally. The more we are in the Spirit, and the more we trust in our Lord, the more joy we can experience. Joy increases in our hearts throughout our earthly lives as God continues to mold us to the mind of Christ. 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)
In order to experience joy, we must also experience peace with a heart of love. All of the fruits of the Spirit are dependent on each other. For example, a kind heart reflects a joyful heart. And how can we have joy without self-control; or how can we experience peace without true joy? As God’s love increases in our hearts, then all the fruits of the Spirit increase in our hearts.
The Holy Spirit gives us joy which satisfies the heart. Joy is accompanied by all the fruits of the Spirit, while happiness is temporary and can be experienced without the Holy Spirit. Happiness is based on external experiences in life, but the joy that comes from God fills our hearts and overflows into our lives giving us greater opportunities to experience happiness.
Satan will try and steal our joy by tempting us with fear, impatience, and anger. But Christ in us has the power to overcome Satan and his evil schemes, so we don’t have to yield to his temptations. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) Whenever Satan attempts to steal your joy, call on the Lord to fight for you, and live in victory. The more we fight Satan with the power of our Lord, the more rewarding it becomes when Satan and his demons are defeated.
Today, command yourself to live in joy from the Lord, and refuse to let Satan take it away. There is infinite joy in the Spirit, so live in the Spirit with love, peace, and joy. Living in the Spirit is living in the power of God. Realize today that you have the infinite power of God through the Spirit; perfect wisdom, perfect love, and perfect joy. The more we are in the Spirit the more joy we can experience.
Let’s pray: Lord, today I choose to live in your power and wisdom so that Satan can never steal my joy and peace. Guide me in the Spirit to overcome the world and reflect your love to everyone. Help me to be an encouraging light of joy in this dark, fearful world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.