We often use the terms “happiness” and “joy” interchangeably, but are they they same thing?
Though you have not seen His; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.1 Peter 1:8
Happiness and joy are seemingly similar, but are quite different. The key point being that God promises joy, but He never promises us happiness.
Being happy is an emotion, just like sadness or jealousy or fear. It is fleeting. You might be happy about something, but you are not going to be continually happy. Happiness is great, but we can get happiness from a lot of things.
Joy on the other hand, is a long-lasting state of being. Joy is promoted by God and something we should strive towards. Hebrews 12:2 states, “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
We all know there will joy in heaven, so we can have joy now in our expectant waiting. God promises us joy when He promises salvation. When we keep this truth in the front of out minds, we can find peace and joy even in our earthly suffering.
Psalm 16:11, says “You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
Once again, God gives us joy, even if we are not happy. We do not have to smile all the time. We are not promised sunshine and rainbows in this life, but we promised salvation and eternal life, which is cause for great joy even in the midst of pain and unhappiness.