Though some people use the terms happiness and joy interchangeably, there is a vast difference in their meaning. Both cause a pleasant emotional response, but the former relies entirely upon circumstance. As soon as difficulty arises and pain intrudes, a person ceases to be happy. On the other hand, joy is a gift from God that enables believers to find hope and peace—even when life seemingly falls apart.
At times, however, even Christians live joylessly. Sinful behavior, of course, is one reason. But there can be other causes, too, including regret about past failures, fear of future mishaps, or a pattern of discontentment that's ingrained in one's personality.
If you are a follower of Jesus but lack gladness, take a moment to remember who Christ is—and who you are in Him. To begin with, you are saved eternally, and your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. The love of almighty God is unconditional, and His indwelling Spirit will never abandon you. He understands everything that you face and promises to provide for your needs.
When you stop to consider the amazing blessings that are yours in Christ, gratitude will likely overwhelm you. Sadness concerning circumstances may still endure, but the joy of the Lord will carry you through even the deepest pain.
Amid the ups and downs of life, does God's joy sustain you? Or do trials leave you hopeless and discontented? Our Father offers a higher way of living—not without pain but with strength to endure. Continually remember the vast treasure you have in Him and His promises.
"Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures." —Thomas Aquinas
"Joys are always on the way to us. They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night. There is never a night when they are not coming." —Amy Carmichael
"Joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian." —G. K. Chesterton
"Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross. It is an unknown word and thing except as He has sway within." —Samuel Dickey Gordon
"If there is joy in the world, surely the man of pure heart possesses it." —Thomas à Kempis
"Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is." —C. S. Lewis
"If you have no joy, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere." —W. A. "Billy" Sunday
"There is more joy in Jesus in 24 hours than there is in the world in 365 days. I have tried them both." —R. A. Torrey
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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.