How many times have you heard that joy and happiness are NOT the same thing? Happiness is emotional; it is inconstant; it depends on your mood, the weather, circumstances. Joy comes from the hope we have within –the hope we have in Christ. As Christians we have joy. Deep, abiding joy.
Our culture doesn’t understand joy because our culture is built on fun, which can only provide happiness – not joy. The messages our culture sends are numerous: If it feels good, do it. Don’t worry, be happy. Life is short. Go for the gusto.
The confusion about what joy is and isn’t seeps into Christianity. Even though we tell ourselves that joy is different, we are beaten up if we are not radiating positive thinking 24/7/365 and going about with smiles on our faces. We feel guilty – as if we’ve failed. This confusing message creeps into ministry – Live Your Best Life Now was written by a minister. So was The Power of Positive Thinking.
To say you are joy-filled doesn’t necessarily mean you are happy all the time. You may not be going around with a smile on your face. Yet you can still have joy. It may be a quiet confidence, a knowing that “all things work together for the good of them that believe.” It is still joy.