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Monday, 1 February 2010

Difference Between Joy And Happiness

What I write here can be summarised in 1 Peter 1 v 3-9. (I have copied and pasted this passage at the very bottom of this post, please read it after reading this post). 

Difference Between Joy and Happiness.
Happiness  is a superficial "feel good" emotion based on circumstances in life.  You can be happy one moment because things are good around you and the next feel sad because something has "happened" to disturb your happy feeling. ie a "happening" has happened to cause un"happiness".  God wants us to be blessed - not happy.  Of course if we are blessed we will "feel" happy also, but not ALL the time and we should not be seeking happiness anyway, but seeking first God's Kingdom!

The sermon on the mount was full of instructions on how to be blessed.  The secret of blessedness and/or joy is not dependant on the circumstances but on being in the condition and position of being in God's Will and submitted to God.

It is God's Will that we be full of joy unspeakable full of Glory. Another place it says that the Spirit of Glory and of Jesus will rest upon you.  It is always at the time of hardship for the Christian that he/she experiences the fullness of that joy.  Jesus said that "my food is to do the Will of Him who sent me" In other words, Jesus did not need to be sustained by the things of this earth. What sustained Jesus and gave Him joy was to be in the centre of God's Will and do what His Father wanted.  

We read of the various forms of Glory that Paul experienced. It was always experienced in the midst of persecution, hardship and trial. Like when he was imprisoned in Philippi, he and Silas sang for joy in the prison while in the stocks.

James says "consider it all joy, when you suffer different trials"

God has not promised us happiness every day, because trials will come. Circumstances may upset our "feel good" feelings, but guess what, we have something deeper than those superficial feelings. We have the joy of The Lord!  Hallelujah. If we are committed to serving Him and His kingdom as number one in our life's priorities we can be sure of God's joy. Jesus said that we would know his joy and that joy would remain, whether we feel "temporarily" happy or not.

The effect of that joy is revealed every time we do something for The Lord. He awakens the joy in us through the Holy Spirit. "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy ......",     "the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".

It is difficult to experience that joy as a happy feeling if we are going through a desert experience in our life where nothing much seems to be happening, but in little ways we see God's hand at work in our life and every time we do, joy rises up in our souls, like the disciples after they were sent out by Jesus two by two. They came back rejoicing because they saw God at work. Jesus said do not rejoice at that, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.  Paul states that we should rejoice in The Lord always whether we "feel" like it or not, because God is in control. He is on the throne and your names are written in Heaven.

Sometimes we become saddened because the accuser of the brethren tries to convince us that we are not saved because he knows that the joy of The Lord (working via the joy of our salvation) is our strength. If  the accuser can make us doubt those things, which our faith rests upon, he can sadden our hearts for a time; but as soon as we come through those doubts the sadness is replaced by the joy springing up from DEEP within. Our JOY is rooted DEEP within - it is not superficial.

Regarding grieving etc, it is sometimes scriptural to suffer these things for a time. Blessed are those who MOURN, for they shall be comforted. Read also James 4  7-10 especially verse 9. It says that we should mourn and weep and let out laughter be turned into mourning and our joy into gloom. Clearly it is talking about superficial joy (or happiness) which is the result of wrong living, but the point is that sometimes we need to enter into a time of gloom for us to be changed from one degree of  Glory to another.

So don't reproach yourself for not always being happy. It could be God's way of increasing HIS joy in you and removing worldly happiness.

Read Romans 9 verse 2.  Paul (who knew all about God's joy and preached the importance of rejoicing) told how he had sorrow and continual grief in his heart over the state of the Jewish people. Was he happy? No.  Was he joyful? Yes! His sorrow was designed by The Holy Spirit to get Paul praying. If you have grief it is also designed to get you praying.

Besides, happiness is usually related to selfishness and self-seeking, but joy is related to self sacrifice and giving. The believer should lay down their lives as a living sacrifice to serve God and not themselves.

1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


Wary said...

Agreed with a question?
Is Salvation eternally secure, come what may, or does it depend on faithful living i.e. Today I may be right with God and saved, but then I'm lost again tomorrow? = Arminiumism?
Is Salvation secure because one is elected by God to be saved so cannot be lost = Calvinism?
Neither is true Salvation is by Grace through faith, not earned by a work or kept by a work?


Johnchingford said...

Thanks Wary for looking at my blogger. There are many places within scriptures that show our eternal salvation is all of God's grace. We cannot earn it. When it comes to this predestination thing I don't believe I can categorically say whether Arminism or Calvanism is correct. There are grey areas in scripture (if we are honest with ourselves).

However, I think one verse sums it up. "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion until the Day of Christ".

So, if we are truly born-again, ie not just made a "decision for Christ" but truly repented after being convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit of our sinful condition (and not just an emotion driven by the right type of music).

Paul said "who will save me from my body of death - thanks be to God through Jesus....". If we had reached this point and recognition in our lives (as a working of the Holy Spirit leading us to salvation), cried out to God for our salvation, believed upon Jesus - then and only then are we saved for eternity.

If this was not the case, Jesus died for no purpose if we can lose our salvation. If we try to maintain our salvation in our own strength it becomes "works" not grace.

Wary said...

Right answer! :)

(With one reservation regarding repentance - for another time!)

Ephesians2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.

We are predestined because of God’s foreknowledge. He knew from the foundation of the earth, which ones would choose Salvation from sin through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Jesus exchanged His righteousness for our unrighteousness and He has declared us to be Justified. We are new creatures with eternal Life coursing through us regardless of how many times we fail. He is the author of our faith, and He is the finisher of our faith. Jesus will complete the good work He has begun in us.

He bought us from the slave market of sin, the price being His shed Blood. We are no longer our own so we cannot give away what now belongs to God. As we are saved by faith, not our works; so we are kept by faith not our work’s. It isn’t up to us to keep ourselves saved; we are in the double fisted grip of the Father and The Son – sealed in by The Holy Spirit. In order to get out of that triple hold, means we would need to be bigger and greater than our Triune God who say’s ‘I will NEVER leave you or forsake you...'.