Happiness and Joy

‘For His anger is but for a moment, His favour is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).’

Happiness is fleeting; joy is lasting (Isaiah 35:10; 51:11; John 15:11).

Happiness and joy are not the same.

Ken Dodd is famous for his ditty, ’Happiness’. In a *YouTube video we can see him with an enormous smile as he sings and rhythmically sways from side to side. He engages his audience, and they willingly enter into the spirit of the moment. Yes, he looks happy, and he brings smiles to many lips. Indeed, he may derive a moment of happiness from performing before an audience. Best of all, with his lilting voice he thanks the Lord for his ‘share of happiness’. [Lyrics at bottom of page.]


Happiness and wellbeing often come together. I remember a time when I was sailing my small yacht at the entrance of the Thames estuary, north of the Kent coast. I was returning from a long summer **cruise to the Scilly Isles from my home waters of the River Crouch. I couldn’t have been happier. I was as-fit-as-a-fiddle, and at that particular moment I stood on the side deck holding one of the mast shrouds. From there I could survey ‘my world’. [I wasn’t a Christian at the time, and I didn’t appreciate it was God’s world (Colossians 1:16), as He had created it.] The sun shone, the tide was with me, and the boat was being steered by a wind vane that worked the rudder. For me, it was perfection. I had not a care in the world – it was sheer bliss, but my happiness was only for a brief moment.

The Lord blessed me many times with moments like that, but I was unaware of His blessings, and that I was being held in His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). Now, as a Christian, I can look back, and I’m so very grateful for His steadfast love, care and protection. His providence brings me great joy (Luke 2:10). He provides me with all I need, and He gives me a life of abundance (John 10:10) in spiritual riches. I know He has so much more in store for me, none of which I deserve, because of my past rebellion and sinfulness. Even now, in my new life (2 Corinthians 5:17), I recognise I don’t deserve His forgiveness; yet He has rescued me from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). He has given me power (2 Corinthians 13:4) and freedom (John 8:36) to obey the law of the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:2; Galatians 6:2). In this salvation I have great and lasting joy (Psalm 35:9).


***Joy is everlasting (Isaiah 35:10; 51:11), and It is God-given. It is found in Christ Himself (John 15:11; Hebrews 12:2). Paradoxically, those who are joyful in Him may experience testing times; for example, when they are being persecuted for their faith (1 Thessalonians 1:6; James 1:2, 3; 1 Peter 4:13, 14), or when suffering from ill health (Habakkuk 3:16-18). Under such circumstances their joy remains. Indeed, their joy may increase because of the testing of their faith (1 Peter 1:7, 8). The psalmist tells us of his joy after coming under attack from his foes (Psalm 30:1-3; 8-10). The Lord rescued Him, and the Spirit inspired him to write ‘joy comes in the morning (v 5),and to thank the Lord ‘forever’ (v12).

The source of all real joy is Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:21) who gives joy to those whom He forgives (1 Peter 1:8, 9). They confess their sins (1 John 1:9) and seek righteousness in Him (Psalm 32:5, 11). When they keep His commandments they ‘abide’ in His love which brings joy to their hearts: ‘“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, Just as I’ve kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:10, 11).”’

‘Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart (Psalm 32:11)!’

Those whom the Lord forgives are His joyous people (Isaiah 65:17-19).

*’Happiness’ – Ken Dodd’s Ditty


**Some of My Cruising Logs




Lyrics to Ken Dodd’s ‘Happiness’ Ditty

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

To me this world is a wonderful place

And I’m the luckiest human in the whole human race

I’ve got no silver and I’ve got no gold

But I’ve got happiness in my soul

Happiness to me is an ocean tide

Or a sunset fading on a mountain side

A big old heaven full of stars up above

When I’m in the arms of the one I love

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

Happiness is a field of grain

Turning its face to the falling rain

I can see it in the sunshine, I breathe it in the air

Happiness happiness everywhere

A wise old man told me one time

Happiness is a frame of mind

When you go to measuring my success

Don’t count my money count my happiness

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

About thebiblicalway

I am a Christian by the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8, 9 Jesus loves me and I love Him. I love my wife, my family and my larger family, the true Church of God.
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