image of the words joy and happiness what's the difference

More Joy in July

“Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say. “More, more.” I have God’s more-than-enough, More joy in one ordinary day”  (Psalm 4:6-7 The Message)

I’ve really enjoyed spending time this month reflecting on our July missional theme of Joy. When I think about this topic, I inevitably find myself wondering what the difference is between ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’?

Did you know the word ‘happy’ or ‘happiness’ occurs around 30 times in our Bible while the words ‘joy’ or ‘rejoice’ appear around 300 times. Right from the start we see that ‘joy’ is 10 times more emphasized, more valued, in scripture than ‘happiness’.

What’s that all about?

As a reminder, here’s the definition of ‘joy’ that I used in my last post:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” 

I’ve come to absolutely love this way to describe what joy is. Even though I’m far from happy all the time, I feel quite sure that ultimately God IS in control and that everything IS going to be all right someday. Which does in fact bring me joy.

Here’s another underrated word: ‘Content’.

Joy means being content with what we have and where we’re at in life. Joy is about internally having a trust in God that He is in control, that we don’t need to stress over not being able to fix or take charge of everything. Real joy is everlasting, continuous, permanent, and not dependent on circumstances.

True joy is being content in our faith.

So as we go about our work of journeying alongside folks who live in the margins of society, let’s take an attitude of joy (not necessarily happiness) with us. I believe it can change our lives and positively affect how we do business.

Let’s keep on striving to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.

With joy,

Prayer of joy

Source of all Joy,
As long as I live
I know adversities will come my way,
So I ask that you help me
To rest in You.
I know that you are in control.

Help me to have that
Joy and Peace
In my life
In every situation

(adapted from

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