The difference between happiness and joy from amChristian perspective?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by R-C, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Tonight at church I again heard it asserted that joy and happiness are not the same. While I ready to accept this as true, I have never understood this. I would be grateful if any of you could help me in understanding this better
    Ghid likes this.
  2. I've noticed a lot of Christians use these words interchangeably, but I think there really is a difference.

    Happiness is a feeling. It's usually shown outwardly. It's even a feeling of bliss. But someone can have joy and it wouldn't appear that way. I think to Christ suffering and in the midst of it, He must have had incredible joy, despite the pain and heartache he went through.
    C1oudwatch3r likes this.
  3. I appreciate your response, but confess that I do not understand. I have always understood joy and happy to be almost interchangeable. Clearly they are related, but I am hearing more and more, in Christian communities, that the difference is significant. I just haven't understood the difference.

    As to your response, I think we can all agree that Christ was not happy on the cross. Would He have been, it would not have been called suffering. But how is there joy, what is joy that is distinct from happy? I believe the difference people are trying to explain is more than significant, but is till don't get it.
  4. Seems to me that either one could be used to describe exhilaration, but I can see how there could be two ideas.

    I'm happy when I get a good grade in school, or perform well in a race, or I field a groundball, or a boy hugs me.

    I hope I will have joy because I pick the right college, or husband or career, or because I'm a good parent, or I continue to have a good relationship with God.

    When I perform on a test, a race, or a ball game, or a boy has fun when he goes to a dance with me, I get such a high, but either way, I mostly know I did the best I could.

    The weight room at my school has an Abraham Lincoln quote above the bench press. It says something like, “I will prepare, and my time will come.” If I do that, if I do the best I can, maybe I will have joy.
  5. "Happiness" is based on the circumstances of life. If everything is going your way you are happy.
    "Joy" has nothing to do with our circumstances, but who we belong to.
    Ravindran, C1oudwatch3r, Fadingman and 2 others say Amen and like this.
  6. I always looked at Joy as something being temporary, a feeling of the moment. But Happiness is a state of being that you are feeling over a long period of time.
  7. I think CCW is hitting close to what I was attempting to get at. But chap and Ghid are submitting noteworthy posts.
    Scripture often talks about joy and there is an association in scripture that joy is a counterbalance (of sorts) to trials, tribulations, testing,suffering ... It would seem that "joy" is more substantial than happiness, not nearly as fleeting, is grounded is faith... This still doesn't get me to a spot where I feel like I understand.
  8. seems those i made red font are fleeting....
    C1oudwatch3r likes this.
  9. Besides the idea that exhilaration comes in two kinds, temporary and permanent or fleeting and lasting; there is the idea that one comes from man, and the other comes from God. At least one other poster has mentioned this. There seems to be no standard way to name them, one is joy and the other happiness or one is happiness and the other joy.

    I have had one experience with the joy or happiness from God.

    My grandfather has a friend. He is a pastor in Seattle. Back in the Dark Ages, before the Pastor was a Pastor, he was a student of divinity here in California. He had a computer. It broke. My Grandfather fixed it. The student and my grandfather became friends.

    Now the pastor has a wife. I have never met her. For me she is a voice on the phone. One time after I talked to her I said, "Wow, that woman is always so happy. How is that possible?"

    Gramps said, "Yes, she does have the Joy of Christ in her voice."

    I'm basically a happy person. I'm willing to be responsible for my own happiness, but since that phone call, I have been willing to believe that a kind of joy comes from God.
  10. Interesting, yes I agree: how it is used, I think one can say: "Happiness is a pursuit, while Joy is a gift."

    This topic made my mind worked out a bit : )

    In summary:
    They can be similar but Joy then have this uniqueness with Happiness: Joy can be a verb: an action word, while Happy or Happiness cannot...

    HAPPINESS is a NOUN while HAPPY is an adjective….

    Joy can be a NOUN = a feeling of great happiness. = then it is similar to HAPPINESS

    Joy can be a VERB:
    • Joy can be an action word/verb, with tenses: even used by prefix re-, Joys, joyed, rejoice, rejoiced…
    This being as a verb is unique with Joy as I can’t think of how to make “Happiness” or “Happy” a verb?

    Adding suffixes:
    Joy can be an adjective: Joyful, which is now similar to Happy being an adjective…
    Joy can be an adverb: Joyfully, which is similar to Happily…

    Although, I think Happy can also be a noun how it is used: “Happy is he who findeth wisdom”

    Proverbs 3:13 King James Bible
    Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

    While as an action word, Joy as a verb:

    Galatians 5:22-23New King James Version (NKJV)
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
  11. CCW has it right. Happiness comes from 'happenstance', the circumstances you happen to be in. Joy comes in spite of circumstances.

    You can be extremely happy but without joy, and you can be joyful but not happy. Many times joy is associated with suffering, for example: Colossians 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Hebrews 10:34, James 1:2, 1 Peter 1:6-8. In these times, it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength, not happiness.
    C1oudwatch3r likes this.
  12. #12 aha, Oct 3, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
    I agree that Joy has a greater weight than Happiness….

    I wonder what other's opinion on the following Psalm verse. As I understand the verse/psalm: one can have the assurance, that is: finding happiness with His salvation, yet, Joy may be lost(?) that it needs psalm/prayer to be restored?

    Psalm 51:12New King James Version (NKJV)
    12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
    And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
  13. I would say that you have that backwards, happiness is an emotion that comes and goes, joy is more of a state of being.
    2404 and C1oudwatch3r say Amen and like this.
  14. IMO: The Question of Happiness, the Pursuit of Happiness is discussed more in ethical questions

    It's day to day or commercial use that it evolved its meaning to a notion of good fortune, good chance, good happening.
  15. Not to make matters any more confusing, my translation lists both happiness and joy as being fruit if the Spirit.
    Does this confirm a difference? I don't know that such is fair, but I don't know it isn't. Aha points out the evolving nature of language without endorsing it, and I think this is worthwhile, I haven't the tools to do a study on the difference and track translation
  16. I think the point of difference being emphasized is one is fleeting and the other is not...

    Imo, both words are neutral as a noun: fleeting or permanent is determined by the source of joy or happiness….

    As mentioned: Joy can be a noun, but it can also be an action word, a verb.
    While Happiness is simply a noun, cannot be a verb/action word.

    I think we can compare it to LOVE: can be a feeling, a noun.

    But LOVE as an action word, a verb, action is that what counts, in my opinion....

    LOVE is always active.
  17. Here is a link to a website that gives an expanded biblical difference with Bible references between joy and happiness:
    Basically, happiness is a state of well-being and satisfaction depending on the circumstances. Joy is more everlasting. It's a feeling of exceeding gladness through trials and overcoming them based on our relationship with Jesus.
  18. Thank you
    Fish Catcher Jim likes this.
  19. Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
    Joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

    Oh Google. *sigh*

    Proverbs 16:20
    He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.

    2 John 1:12
    I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

    Happiness reflects your emotion and how you feel deep inside about something, something that moves you. Joy on the other hand, reflects your happiness. Joy is the outward appearance and comes directly from happiness. Happiness and Joy are equal to yin and yang, without one you couldn't have the other.
  20. I find joy in suffering; especially when I'm being persecuted for my belief in Jesus Christ. I may also be feeling depressed, anxious and wronged (humans feel a multitude of emotions at the same time); but the knowledge that He is with me and standing by me gives me joy in the midst of it.
    Major likes this.

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