What’s the difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is like “hoppyness”, what we experience as we’re hopping from one level to another, hopefully in a good direction. Joy, on the other hand, is the feeling of being released of all worries, not just one, but all worries. And only God provides that. Only Jesus gave me that. He gave me himself.
The Psalmist wrote in the Spirit of Christ,
“For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 11You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. A gift. And as the Holy Spirit hands us joy, we have to develop it. Joy is enveloped in Christ, and developed in us his believers by the Holy Spirit. It’s rather more than a feeling that comes and goes. It’s a character. An eternal character. And we maintain that character called joy as the Spirit unceasingly reminds us of the things that God has freely given us in Christ, above them all is God’s love which grants us sonship.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
I tend to get distracted at times and give my attention to things that make me forget the love of God.
But as soon as I’m reminded of God’s love for me, I’m released of all of my worries. My character and even facial expressions no longer depend on how well people have been treating me but how immensely God loves me as he showed me in Christ.
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:2)
God gave us his peace and grace. And Jesus gave us his peace and grace. Does that make sense? God gave us Jesus and Jesus gave us God.
Paul took the time to literally sing his joy in these words to the Christians at Ephesus:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
This isn’t a happiness reaction. This is a joyful testimony. There’s no greater height to reach other than Christ, and God put us in Christ. Once you’re in Christ, you stop searching for other heights for there is no other in all creation that is higher than Christ, and no other that can compare to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Matter settled. Let us rest, now, in Christ.