It seems as though words so closely linked as “joy” and “happiness” would become interchangeable in our minds. Perhaps seeing the difference as degree, but are we causing some emotional confusion when we make happiness and joy so alike?
Pursuing happiness is a major activity, and we like to say “whatever makes you happy” as a kind of modern blessing pronounced on most anything. As a motivation that concerns most everyone, we even have research and studies on what “happiness” is, including how it is experienced by people, and how to attain it.
Joy is not given as much attention
Joy seems much more accidental, with an idea of a feeling of sudden bliss or gladness. But the Bible makes clear that joy is much more a result of a decision on our parts than the fleeting and ephemeral feelings of happiness.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Gratefulness and joy are as much a decision of the day as deciding to pray.
A Scripture for Meditation
Hebrew 1: 8-9
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.