If we were to look up the words “joy” and “happy” in Merriam Webster’s dictionary, we would receive the following definitions: Joy - the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. The expression or exhibition of such emotion. A state of happiness or felicity. A source or cause of delight. Happy - favored by luck or fortune: fortunate; notably fitting, effective, or well adapted: felicitous; enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment, characterized by a dazed irresponsible state.
If we look up the same words in the Bible and define them from a biblical perspective, we will find different definitions entirely. In the Bible, joy is received from a close and healthy relationship with Jesus Christ and happiness is achieved by consistently making wise decisions and enjoying the benefit of those good choices. Here are some scriptures that demonstrate these definitions: Jesus said in John 15:11 - “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.” The person of Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him provides us with joy and choosing to live our lives in a biblically prescribed manner results in us having a happy life.
So, the question should be asked, “How can I have joy and happiness?” This is a good question to ask and the Bible gives us the answer. If we want to have joy, then we need to develop and cultivate an ongoing healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus told his disciples to “Follow Me.” As we walk with Jesus, we encounter real and lasting joy. Happiness does not happen by accident but occurs when we make good, wise and righteous decisions. If we will apply the wisdom of the Bible to our daily lives, we will experience happiness having made God-approved choices in life. Joy and happiness are not out of our reach. If we will choose to live our lives in relationship to Jesus and live the way God wants us to, we will experience the best that life has to offer us.