Although happiness and joy are often construed to be synonymous, I like to believe they are not. They can be present at the same time, but happiness is often just an outward demonstration of temporary feelings based on worldly situations. While joy, on the other hand, is felt on an emotional level, and since emotions are more engrained into our psyche than feelings, it is felt on a deeper plane.
Joy is a gift from God and can be present even during unhappy times. This is reflected in many of the Psalms King David wrote during difficult periods in his life. David makes it obvious that he knew God intimately as expressed in Psalm 16:11, “you have filled me with joy in your presence.” David was able to experience such joy because he understood his relationship with God and never wavered from believing in it, even when what was happening around him seemed dim.
The verb “to rejoice” appears seventy-four times in the New Testament. The noun “joy” appears fifty-nine times. James writes in his New Testament letter,” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” The Apostle Paul, another New Testament writer, felt joy was so important that he mentions joy seventeen times in his letter to the Philippians. In fact throughout all his letters he urges us to “be joyful always,“ “be joyful in hope,“ “ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him. “
Paul, James and David aren’t the only Biblical writers urging us to be joyful. Proverbs 17:22 says, “a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” For me this proverb sums up what all the other verses are trying to say: despair destroys your joy and will only attract more despair.
In order for you to attain the level of joy talked about in the Bible, consider what Albert Einstein once said, “If you want to solve your problems then you can’t think the same way you always have.” So in order to experience constant joy in your life then set the goal of thinking about your life in only positive and upbeat ways.
Setting the goal of living a life filled with joy will be its own reward, because no matter what you are facing, God will use it for your good. Finding joy in your troubles makes them less burdensome. It makes finding the answers easier and it opens the door for spiritual growth.
The apostle Paul believed that joy affected your very soul. He understood that God wants us to be filled with joy because it is good for us. As in his letter to the Philippians, his letter to the Romans mentions joy more than once. Romans 12:12 says “be joyful in hope.” Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.“ Keep in the forefront of your mind that God delights in caring for you, focus on God working it all out for your good, and no matter what is happening in your life, you will know that it is all OK.