Christian Living
Happiness vs. Joy
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Jul 30, 2017
If God Is In Control, Why Is My Life Such a Mess?


On the surface, happiness and joy are similar; they are both uplifting and blissful experiences. Yet there are more differences than similarities.

Happiness is a self-focused emotion tied directly to getting what we want. Joy is a spiritual result of our focus on God. It is tied to our salvation and our walk with Christ.

My Devotional

The more we shift our gaze from the temporal to the eternal, the more indestructible our joy will be.

Happiness is temporary at best; it is subjective to our circumstances and moods. Joy is eternally-based and can be ours even in our deepest valleys. Happiness quickly leaves us when we fail to attain our goals or we become bored with our prizes. Joy is from God and therefore can never be stolen from us.

Joy is given through the Holy Spirit the moment we accept Christ as our Savior. As Christians, our joy can never be destroyed, although there are many pitfalls which can significantly diminish it. Joy is a permanent gift from God, but it is also a gift for which we must take responsibility for nurturing and protecting on a daily basis.

We can always find joy in our salvation because it is assured. Paul told the Philippians, "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:4-6).

The God who gave us salvation never begins anything that He will not complete. When He saved us, He saved us completely and eternally. Jesus promised, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

Many things can be taken away from us, but the most precious thing cannot—Christ Himself. The more we shift our gaze from the temporal to the eternal, the more indestructible our joy will be.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the gift of joy. Thank You that joy is not temporary, but rather a permanent gift from You. Help me to nurture it by the power of Your Gospel—the assurance of salvation that You have secured for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him" (Romans 15:13a).