April 28, 2022

Joy and Happiness


Philippians 1:1-6

While on a mission trip, I got “doubled-over-sick,” unable to stand and walk. I was not happy, but I had joy. How? There’s a difference between happiness and joy.

Because Paul weaves joy through its 104 verses, the church refers to Philippians as the Book of Joy.

What’s the difference between joy and happiness? Happiness depends upon things that happen. The root of the word happiness is “events.” If I tell a joke or you win a game, these events bring feelings of happiness, but then happy feelings fade afterward.

However, joy emerges from a relationship, not events. As part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, joy emerges from the relationship with God. Though tragic events may happen in our lives— fire, accidents, job loss, divorce, strokes, cancer, and death—we can still experience the joy that lasts. How? 

No matter what happens, God is still with us. Affirming this in Romans 8, Paul says nothing separates us from God’s love. In the end, God will transform the tragedy into triumph.

When things get me down, I remember that “the joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Focusing on the joy of my relationship with God provides a wave of joy, peace, and assurance that all will be okay in time.


  • List some things that have changed since April 2012. Which brings happiness? Sadness?
  • How is your joy in the Lord today compared with ten years ago?
  • What events are you anticipating today? How might they affect your happiness?
  • If our ultimate joy depends on our relationship with God, how might you open yourself to God’s joy, no matter what happens today?


  • Ask each family member to list things that happened to them during the past ten years.
  • Which of the events brought happiness? Sadness?
  • Share about the joy and love you have for each other, no matter what happens.


Dear loving Lord, thank you for your gracious love. You’ve stayed with me through the years no matter what’s happened in my life. Please help me focus on the joy of total trust in my relationship with you, no matter what happens in the future. In your gracious name, I humbly ask. Amen.


Are you inspired by the Daily Field Guide devotions each week? You can inspire others in the congregation with your reflections on God’s word by becoming a Field Guide author! Contact Jason Alteri at jalteri@bumc.net to learn more.