The Difference Between Happiness and Joy
Anyone can be happy when circumstances are wonderful, but joy is different. Joy is proactive happiness. It is the learned capacity to display your faith ahead of time by means of your daily mental attitude.
This should be one of the primary things separating men and women of faith from everyone else. Most people will just wait and see. A typical mindset is, “When I see it, I’ll believe it – and then I’ll act on it.” They’ve got it backward and will no doubt be doing a lot of waiting. Is the “show me first” approach indicative of a strong faith? No! The Bible gives us many examples of people who believed God’s promises and let that shape their attitude – even when they couldn’t yet see how God would act. Abraham and Sarah were elderly before God gave them a child, yet “by faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Hebrews 11:11, NIV).
To act with joy now, live each hour as if your full potential has already materialized. Proceed, moment by moment, with the gratitude you’d have if your most heartfelt prayers have been answered. Arise from your prayer time with a jubilant smile overtaking your face. Essentially, this means exercising spiritual eyes. Look at your circumstances with the eyes of faith and see what could be if you would change your attitude and allow God to work in the situation.
Stop reading briefly and make a list of five things you would be doing today if you had already reached your biggest goals or over come your greatest challenges. Maybe you would be acting boldly, pursuing a passion, using your time differently, investing more time with important relationships, expressing tanks more often, or taking new risks. Why not go ahead and get the momentum going? Ask, “How would I act if I were bubbling with joy?”