Happiness and Joy: They’re Different

We all have different things that make us happy - perhaps a weekend project in the yard or a slice of watermelon after a leisure swim. It could be as simple as driving with your windows down on a breezy summer night (my favorite) or as complex and multi-leveled as a wedding ceremony. Happiness can be found everywhere. 

But joy - that’s something altogether different. 

Happiness and joy are merely cousins; we would be mistaken to think that they are identical twins. Joy goes deeper. Happiness is an external thing that happens to us; joy is an internal thing that radiates from us. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say again: Rejoice!” - Philippians 4:4

Joy is a condition of the soul, and we must receive it. We are active participants in our soul’s joy. We are the value that controls the amount of joy our soul receives. We must choose it, choose to rejoice in the Lord at all times. In fact, joy is so important that Paul mentions it twice in the passage just to get the point across. He’s saying, “You need to rejoice in the Lord, people. Get it? I can’t stress this enough: Rejoice!” 

But what about the act of rejoicing? How do we do it? How do we overcome all the stress and outside worries of this life to become joyful people? Doesn’t it mean we’re just ignoring the obvious, hoping it’ll just go away? 

Not at all. 

It means you let God deal with that stuff, like he said he would. Let go; make the decision to rejoice. Always.