Joy vs Happiness

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.

Psalm 126:2

Joy is often confused with happiness. Happiness depends on our outward circumstances…how things are going in our jobs, our relationships, or our health etc. But joy isn’t dependent on the weather, or on our weight, or on our bank account balance. Joy is a quality of the spiritual fruit (love) that grows within us.

Psalm 126 was written at a difficult time in the history of God’s people. They had been released from exile in Babylon, and on returning to Jerusalem, they found it had been destroyed, and their temple had been flattened. Plus their enemies still surrounded them on every side.

But despite their circumstances, their “mouths were filled with laughter” and their “tongues with songs of joy.” Why? Because they had chosen to be joyful.

Centuries later, the apostle Paul wrote to Christian believers in Philippi, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” Philippians 4:11.

Our lives may be falling apart right now or may actually have fallen apart already, but God has still given us a choice…depression or Joy.

Depression comes from the devil telling us to look at our outward lives, but joy is something the Spirit grows within us by reminding us to reflect on God’s unfailing love and all the various ways He has blessed us.

Prayer

Dear God, grant me a sense of joy that does not depend on circumstances. Cultivate an inner joy that reflects Your love within me, and help me to share that joy with others. In Jesus, Amen.

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