Happiness versus Joy

This Sunday will be the 3rd Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Joy. I've been contemplating the difference between happiness and joy. There is a difference you know!

Happiness is fleeting. It is circumstantial. Happiness is dependent on other factors. Happiness is not an emotion we feel all the time.

I must admit, sometimes I am far from happy.

However, joy is different. Joy comes from deep within. Joy can be present regardless of the circumstances and situations surrounding us.

I once heard this definition of joy: "Joy: Peace dancing in your heart."

Capture a picture of that for a minute.

Peace dancing.

Regardless of what all else is happening... there is peace. That peace is not just sitting still becoming stagnant, it's dancing! Dancing in your heart, the very depths of your soul!!... That my friends is joy!
"Joy is more than my spontaneous expression of laughter, gaiety, and lightness. It is deeper than an emotional expression of happiness. Joy is... God in my life as I walk with Him." -- Bonnie Monson
Life as I walk with God. That is true joy!

Walking with God requires action. To walk is a verb. We must be active in the process. We must walk. We find joy by seeking God and His face, by being in His presence.

This is not a joy that can come from a new car, a new house, gifts in pretty packages, or anything else we might think would bring us joy. This joy, this peace dancing, comes from God alone...walking with Him and being in His presence.

Psalm 43:3-4 (NLT)
"Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy."

Psalm 16:11 (NLT)
"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. "

God is the only one who brings that true joy into our lives. It is that joy, that peace dancing, that can be and is the giver of our strength... even in the most difficult times.

Nehemiah 8:10b (NLT)
"Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Psalm 28:7-8a (NLT)
"The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. The Lord gives his people strength. "

As we seek God, as we actively walk with God, as we depend on Him...He gives us His joy. He gives us His peace dancing in our hearts and His strength. It is nothing we can attain or achieve on our own. It comes from Him and Him alone.

Whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, whether happy or sad, whether exciting or tragic, whether energizing or exhausting... we can have joy.

From the very depths of our beings, our souls can rest in His plans. Our moments find strength to push forward in His strength. Our hearts can dance the dance of peace... the dance of joy. 

When it is all said and done, we can give thanks and praise to His name. He has done great things! We have been filled with joy... a peace dancing... because of Him!

Psalm 9:1-3 (NLT)
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you."

May you be filled with joy this season. Not happiness, for that can change in a moment's notice. No, I do not hope for only happiness. That is not enough to sustain you in the things life has to offer. Happiness is not near enough.

My hope and prayer is that you be filled with joy. May you seek the giver of all joy. May you find yourself walking with Him... side by side and hand in hand.

Regardless of what you are facing, decisions you are making, plans you have, and hopes you dream...may you look deep into the depths of your heart. As you look into the very depths of your heart and soul, may you find joy there...

Joy: Peace dancing in your heart!

1 comment:

  1. I love that.....peace dancing in your heart!

    A friend of mine once said in a Bible study group.....Happiness is situational, joy is eternal.


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