Happy happy, joy joy

There’s a difference between happiness and joy…the joy that is mentioned in the “fruit of the spirit” in the Bible.  There are circumstances that we go through in life that just are not the kind that anyone would be happy in.  The Bible even says that Jesus wept.  And they weren’t happy tears.  I don’t imagine even God the Son was happy when he was suffering on that cross.  I don’t imagine Paul was happy when he was imprisoned, and beaten, and shipwrecked, and endured harsh trials.  I don’t imagine Mother Teresa was happy caring for all those dying people…seeing death like she did on a daily basis, not to mention the suffering.  But I do imagine they had a ‘joy’ from within, because of the knowledge that God is good and there through it all…and the knowledge of an eternity with Him when it would all be over.

I had a friend ask me once, “Don’t you think that God wants you to be happy?”  My answer was that I don’t know.  Looking at all of that…at people who have served God faithfully not just in Biblical times, but in more modern times and have suffered through great trials in the midst of them…I cannot say that God wants me to be happy.  I can say that he wants me to have joy within…and peace that passes understanding.

As for the “joy” mentioned in the fruit of the spirit, it is followed immediately by “longsuffering”…also “patience” in some translations.  But it still indicates times when we’re waiting for the answers and probably not happy through a lot of it.

I love the Lord, and trust him.  But I am most definitely not always happy in my circumstances.  There are people who preach that God wants us to have all that we desire all the time, and to be rich and never be sick or go through trials.  But the trials make us stronger…or rather, they make him stronger within us. They are ways that God’s glory can be seen in greater ways sometimes. 

Just some Thursday thoughts.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Love and blessings,



About Anne Sikes

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7) Sharing the journey through daily thoughts and struggles, examination of Scripture, poetry, music and art.
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15 Responses to Happy happy, joy joy

  1. You are so right…I carry around with me internally (and I hope externally for the most part) the joy of knowing I belong to Jesus and the joy of knowing that my family loves me and I am secure in that. But happiness depends more on circumstances at the time and often fluctuates. We are sometimes robbed though of our joy when we are in deep distress such as depression and other disorders…and that is the ‘thief’ who comes to do this in our weaker moments of despair…But thank God He doesn’t just abandon us when this happens….Diane

  2. EpignosisTCHR says:

    Hi Anne, I’m writing from my mobile phone so this will be short. (o^-^o) I believe God wants us to be happy as well as have joy; and yes, I agree they are 2 very different things. I did a study on Psalm 1 some time ago. The word “blessed” in the Hebrew means happy. Try using “happy” instead of “blessed” and see how it reads. I can’t think of any other scriptures off the top of my head right now but will check when I get a chance. BLESSINGS!!! ⊂(^(工)^)⊃ Sheldon.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      Thank you Sheldon. Blessings to you! Out of curiosity, do you believe we’re supposed to be happy in all circumstances…or to have joy and peace through all circumstances?

      • I believe we are to have joy because the Joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and peace because the peace of God passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). BUT I also believe God wants us to be happy (Matthew 5); I will explain.

        The reality of life is such that many times we are not happy. Our circumstances combined with the fact that we all have been conditioned in some way or another, to react to things emotionally, make us unhappy when we are not pleased with things that irk us. We are only human.

        Interestingly, the word “blessed” used in Matthew 5 is also translated “happy” in other scriptures like (John 13:17 and 1 Peter 3:14 and 4:14) to name a few. These two words are used interchangeably in both New and Old testaments. Se also Psalm 146:5, Proverbs 3:13, 16:20 and 29:18 to name a few more. Also, in the same Phil. 4, if we read from verse 7 thru to 13 we can see the Apostle Paul teaching, “I can do all things through Christ…” I believe this means even when the circumstances are such that I don’t feel happy, I can be happy through Christ.

        Anne, please share more of your feelings and thoughts about what I have said here. (o^-^o) My apologies if there are any typos. lol

        • Anne Sikes says:

          I believe that (notwithstanding depression issues that are a medical cause sometimes), we are not supposed to be ruled by our emotions. It’s easy to do that…we ‘feel’ sad. We ‘feel’ happy. We ‘feel’ angry, etc. God created us, and our emotions are part of how He created us. So I don’t think they’re bad in of themselves. I think it is perfectly okay to feel. Jesus did…Paul did. I can imagine Abraham felt just awful leading his son up to be slaughtered at his own hand…yet he was being obedient. I imagine when God stopped him from sacrificing his son he ‘felt’ exceedingly relieved, and probably cried from relief. It would’ve been a human reaction in that circumstance, and Abraham was human.

          I don’t think human emotions, or feelings are wrong in of themself. I think being led away or consumed by them (again, notwithstanding the medical issue of clinical depression) is wrong. For example, when my first husband died, I grieved for him. I grieved for my children. Then when my daughter nearly died from complications after my granddaughter was born, only a month and a half after my husband had died, I was frightened for the thought of losing her. If someone was to tell me that feeling that emotion that I felt meant that I didn’t trust God enough…or that I was supposed to stifle that and smile through it and stuff those feelings, I would probably ‘feel’ anger toward them…and sadness too…because it would mean we’re supposed to be some sort of robots or something…like “Stepford wives”. I don’t believe we are. In 2 Cor. 1:8, Paul speaks of the trouble they had in Asia, and that they were pressed beyond their strength so that they despaired even of life.

          I think the primary point to illustrate my basic belief is again that it’s okay to feel whatever we feel…but we are not supposed to let those feelings control us in the sense of just almost ‘becoming’ whatever we’re feeling at some moment…becoming the anger…becoming the sadness, or whatever…but rather to let the Spirit control us.

          • Sorry Anne, I just got a chance to reply! The time difference you see. 🙂

            I agree with what you’ve said here. We are human and we will experience many different emotions based on the circumstances we are placed in. True. As you said, we cannot let the emotions control us or we cannot be overcome by them. true.

            And you are right emotions are not bad per se because God experiences anger, hate, love, jealousy, etc. In fact the bible tells Christians that if we get angry, sin not (Ephesians 4:26). I think we can take that principle and apply it to being happy.

            Situations arise and we can choose to be unhappy about them or we can choose joy and peace, which when had will make us happy anyhow. Let me explain.

            Since the Joy of the Lord is our strength, Joy is stronger than happiness. If we are happy it doesn’t necessarily mean we are joyful. BUT if we have the joy of the Lord, then we are strengthened and we are automatically happy.

            Does this seem reasonable to you??? lol. I like the stepford wives robot joke by the way. 🙂

            Paul even said that he had learned to be content in whatever condition he was in (Philippians 4:11). Again, this “principle” can be applied to being happy in spite of troubles. I think we are saying the same thing here. 🙂

            Anne, do you think it is safe for me to say once we have the Joy of the Lord we are automatically content and therefore automatically happy?

            • Anne Sikes says:

              Hmmm…I think maybe we are agreeing, but our thoughts about the word ‘happy’ may be different in some ways. I don’t see contentment and happiness as the same thing…but I think I do see what you’re saying. I think of ‘happiness’ as the one of these things that’s a feeling, and ‘joy’, ‘peace’ and ‘contentment’ as byproducts of knowing Him…something different than a mere feeling. I think that’s the best way I can think of to describe it. 🙂 Make sense?

            • Yes, I think I see what you’re saying about the word happy. You’re right we’re looking at the word from different perspectives. This is a very deep discussion nonetheless. 😀

              I also think I see what you are saying about God’s Joy and Peace and I think you’re right. Are you saying God’s Joy and Peace are founded on solely faith whereas the state of being happy is a human emotion affected by circumstance and human will power?

              I’m asking this because, if this is the case, then there is no true Joy without God. And, (I’m thinking out loud here) it would mean that the Psalm 1 man is emotionally happy once he meets all the conditions in the Psalm. But, God’s Joy becomes our strength in our spirit because we belong to Him and exercise faith in Him, and in what He says about this joy. What do you think? 😀

            • Anne Sikes says:

              I think that makes sense, except I still do think there are circumstances that just aren’t happy ones, and we just won’t always be happy. We can choose not to dwell on it…not to stay in that place, to a degree. But if just being right with God would bring happiness the way I ‘hear’ you saying, then what about what Paul said about having despaired of life? Despair certainly is as opposite as you can get to happiness.

              Not having studied all the languages, I can’t address your point of the word’s meaning. I can only say what I know in my life as a Christian…and what I see from looking at the entire picture given throughout the Bible. 🙂

            • Ah yes, I would think the key to this is, if we trust God (who can do ALL things) as the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2), then no matter what the circumstances bring we would be content, blessed, or happy as the case may be, knowing (through faith) that ALL things (good bringing happiness or bad bringing sorrow) work for our good because we love God.

              I would think, therefore, even though we may not “feel” happy, it would do us well to “be” happy, since…

              “…we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

              and we should…

              “…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” James 1:2

              As you said Anne, experience has taught us despair but we must take comfort in scripture, especially in light of the multitude of good promises for us in scriptures like this one below.

              “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

              I would think, if we know God’s ultimately good reasons for allowing things that cause unhappiness, then choosing to remain unhappy is pointless. After all, aren’t we ultimately responsible for how we “react” to external things? 😀

        • Anne Sikes says:

          Thank you by the way for your comments!! 🙂 I appreciate the discussion! Blessings –Anne

          • You’re very welcome! 😀

            One more thing came to mind, the scripture that says don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). That “principle” can be applied to circumstances that irk us as well. It could easily read “Be not overcome with unhappiness, but overcome unhappiness with joy.”

            Do you think we could fit any emotion into that???

  3. Steven says:

    I think based on your words you understand and it’s a good teaching. No trial is happiness in it’s planting…but in the peaceable fruits of righteousness which grow up a testimony and remain…those things built inside us that cannot be shaken.

    The person who understands what you are teaching and takes it to heart will have some joy in the trials…understanding happiness waxes and wains over the days of our lives we can sing in our prisons. We come to understand we are more than our feelings, something inside is solid and enduring through all circumstances. Something imparted from God into our souls. Shalom Anne 🙂

    • Anne Sikes says:

      Thank you Steven. You said it so well. 🙂 The Bible does say that God will give us good gifts even more than earthly parents want to give their children good gifts. I believe that. But sometimes they come in the midst of those trials, or as the answers to prayers in those trials…and the trials themselves I think can instill gifts within us from God. People have a tendency to think of a gift as something that is tangible…like a new car (which I am praying for…not necessarily new, but new, but reliable…lol…) But the gifts are often other things that are not things you can see or touch. They’re often things that lie within us that we learn through those struggles. Shalom!! 😀

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