Join Financial Advisor Tim Russell, CFP®, and Rev. Drew Gysi as they explore the differences between happiness and joy.
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Growing up in the church during this “most wonderful time of the year”, there were some key songs that were always sung around Christmas. One song in particular is "Joy to the World." What an amazing song! I have always love singing it as I have matured over the years. I have spent more time contemplating the words of the many songs that we sing because I have learned about the words and phrases in various songs. I tend to have a greater and deeper singing and worship experience.
In “Joy to the World” I tend to focus on the word JOY. As I was learning more about what the Bible said about “Joy," I was also drawn to what the Bible says about “Happiness."
The dictionary definition of happiness is “a state of well-being...a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”
A dictionary definition of the word rejoice, which is related to the word joy, is “to feel great delight; to be glad.”
The article continued to say this:
An article that I read on Christianity Today by Glory Dy, had these subheadings pertaining to Happiness and Joy:
Happiness Is Bliss, Joy Is Selfless
Happiness Is Pleasure, Joy Is A Sacrifice
Happiness Is Achievable on Earth (Albeit, temporarily), Joy Is a More Spiritual Connection with God (Joy is a fruit of the Spirit!)
Happiness is external...Joy is internal!
Now that we have some understanding between these two terms, let's look at the stewardship connection. You want to pursue happiness in this life? Let’s look at someone who did, what they pursued, and their conclusion. Solomon pursued happiness to the maximum extent as seen in Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. So, what did Solomon pursue?
Solomon was in a position to pursue happiness to its maximum degree, and that's exactly what he did. But the books of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles all reveal the reality of Solomon’s pursuits. Solomon stated, “All is vanity and striving after the wind" (Eccl. 2:11). Solomon used the word “vanity” or “meaningless” approximately 30 times in the book of Ecclesiastes!
Solomon’s pursuit of happiness was temporary, fleeting, and even damaging to him!
I like what the old hymn “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” It says, ”the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.” How beautiful.
I would not do justice to this discussion between happiness and joy without a quick touch on this verse:
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11, NIV84)
Paul here speaks to “learning” to be content! Learning is part of our sanctification process. We must learn contentment, not by aggressively chasing after the temporary things in life, but by pursuing God who is forever, and keeping His commandments.
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