God wants us to discover authentic joy in all seasons of life. Choosing joy in difficult circumstances is never easy, especially when we are tempted to ignore God and try to solve the issue all on our own. We think that if we can solve it the pain and hurt will go away.
Please note this post may contain affiliate links, read my full disclosure here.
Building our own kingdoms and fulfilling our agendas may offer temporary joy. But we can only find true joy in everyday life when we seek Jesus. Real joy is a gift from God.
What Is The Difference Between Joy And Happiness
Joy and happiness are two different things. Happiness is a state of well-being dependent on what is going around you that solicits feelings of positivity and contentment. Think Marie Kondo and asking if your clothes “spark joy.” Those things allow us to feel bliss or pleasure temporarily, but ultimately leave us feeling empty.
Whereas true joy is what happens deep inside your soul and spirit. Joy is long-lasting and satisfies the heart in marvelous ways no matter the circumstance. Joy comes from being in an intimate relationship with the One who is pure joy! God’s greatest desire is for you to experience this unconditional joy. If we walk in the ways of the Lord, then we will experience this joy along with feelings of peace, contentment, patience, kindness, and goodness.
Examples Of Joy In The Bible
The best examples of joy come from the Bible, where some chose joy even in the midst of trials and uncertain circumstances.
He would not have succeeded in his circumstances if he had been full of anger and resentment. He kept his faith and joy to persevere. He trusted in God’s plan for his life even when everything seemed to be going the opposite way.
The Prodigal Son
The father had immense joy when his son returned. The father literally stops what he is doing and runs to embrace his son. He honored him with a great feast and invited the village to attend. The father never permitted the son to finish his confession – he hugged him, forgave him and ordered the celebration. This pictures the attitude of God towards sinners who repent – He is rich in his mercy and grace, and great in His love towards them.
Paul hated Christians yet he was touched by Jesus and became one of the most integral parts in starting the early Christian church. During Paul’s ministry, he experienced some of the worst circumstances yet he wrote the “book on joy,” Philippians.
Bible Verses About Joy And Happiness
Let’s learn more about what God has to say about finding joy in your everyday life. These bible verses about joy and happiness remind me that my circumstance has less to do with what is happening and more to do with what God can do through it!
When the hard times come, I turn to the Word, the one place where I know God will be able to fill me with His truths.
Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
James 1:2: Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
John 16:24: Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
Psalm 16:11: You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.
Psalm 118:24: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
How To Find Joy In The Lord
Whatever our circumstances may be they are orchestrated by God for our good. By spending time with God in prayer and daily Bible reading, we can experience a joy that fills our hearts.
We were made to share the Father’s eternal pleasure in His Son. The Father has always delighted in His Son, eternally finding pleasure in Him. To love Jesus is to be made more like God himself.
Finding Joy In Jesus
Our joy in everyday life comes from understanding our position with Christ: who He is, who we are in Him and what wonderful things He has done on our behalf. Jesus promises us full and complete joy (John 15:11).
If we believe that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him (Philippians 1:20-21), then joy or satisfaction in God is a must. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” is a command. The joy of Jesus is not something that comes and goes, it is constant. Unless you have joy in Jesus, your joy is not sufficient. It is the Jesus who is the vine and we, the branches, bear the fruit, including the fruit of joy (John 15:1).
Joy In Suffering
Like I mentioned above, Paul is our greatest example of finding joy in suffering. No matter his circumstance he only cared about glorifying God and spreading the good news of the Gospel. He had hope in his suffering because he knew he would one day be in his rightful place – dwelling with Jesus Christ.
This is an active thing. We must press on towards the goal (Philippians 3:14).
But Paul tells us not grumble. The opposite of grumbling is joy, peace, and contentment. This is a command to do all things with joy even when that is the last thing you want to do. That doesn’t mean you have to fake a smile or be in a positive mood all of the time.
However, the secret is in accepting the supremacy of the sovereignty of Christ and trusting that God is in control of every circumstance. If we are going to make it to the end of our suffering, it is because God has given us the strength to make it to the end. God is sovereign over when he gives faith and when he gives suffering. Ultimately, God is sovereign over everything.
God uses every circumstance for His glory and your ultimate joy in the end. Knowing Christ right now and experiencing an intimate relationship with him is more precious and satisfying than anything else. As you start seeing your relationship with God grow, you will find in your heart a miraculous joy because the joy of Christ is going to be flowing through you.
If you are looking for a great way to cultivate joy, you should check out this Write the Word Journal. It is not just a collection of bible verses about joy and happiness. It is a journal that will help you discover the joyful life that God has planned for you.