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The Difference between Joy and Happiness - Essay Example

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According to Houston (p.46), both joy and happiness are more sustained and enduring when they are related to God; and rooted deeply in spirituality. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the difference between joy and happiness as spiritual concepts and God’s gifts to human beings. The Difference Between Joy and Happiness in the Spiritual Context The New Testament emphasizes that the Christian life is essentially a joyful life, when Jesus Christ is made central in all aspects. Like the inestimable energy of the sun’s radiation God’s love that translates into joy is able to sustain human happiness beyond our wildest desires. To enjoy divine joy, and consequently to experience spiritual happiness, it is necessary to follow the righteous path. Christians have a supernatural gift of joy in Christ, which cannot be comprehended by those outside Christianity. The nature of Christian joy is evident even in utmost conditions of suffering by reconciling the “negative with the transcendent love of Christ” (Houston 259). Through receiving the gift of faith in Christ who stood for the poor, the destitute and the deprived, the true character of Christian joy is experienced. ...
Instead of seeking happiness from the absence of undesirable pain or suffering, Christian joy responds to the desirable presence of God. Happiness is experienced through gratitude and thanksgiving to God. Any conceptualization of happiness as a state of mild emotional euphoria is a shallow one. “A more substantial approach is to think of happiness as deep-seated satisfaction and enjoyment of life that is safe from its inevitable chances and changes” (Charry 21). Hence, an emotional view of the concept of happiness should be replaced by a theological perspective for achieving a more rewarding outcome. The popular notion of happiness is not only morally impoverished, but is also psychologically lacking and counterproductive. The false and trivial notions of happiness in contemporary times paradoxically creates unhappy people. Such wrong conceptualizations of happiness are both psychologically and socially damaging. On the other hand, it is essential to note that neither ancient philosophy which provided guidelines on spiritual pathways to the good life, nor the Christian theology it inspired “ever separated enjoyment from goodness” (Charry 22). However, devoid of goodness, happiness is reduced to mere fun, which can be socially and psychologically harmful. Happiness in God also needs material satisfaction in order to be physically and psychologically sustaining. Hence, a healthy theological teaching on happiness must avoid both extremes, by reclaiming the association between the spiritual and the material, “as captured in the Christian teaching on the Incarnation and the classical teaching on the sacraments” (Charry 25). Happiness rooted in Christian theology materially and spiritually nurtures the body ...Show more


Name and Number of the Course Date THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOY AND HAPPINESS Introduction A distinctive element of the Christian faith is that it orients man to hope in God, to respond to God’s love which is manifest as infinite joy, and to rest in God alone as the only source of ultimate happiness…
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The Difference between Joy and Happiness
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