Joy – Not Just Happiness

The happiest part of something that makes you happy is the promise that lies within it.

Joy is the certainty of the promise that we as believers have been forgiven and are being transformed into His image and will be united with God—God being the one who is . . . [fill in the blank with scripture; but in short: the best-est!]


1.      Watch and discuss – Ren and Stimpy, “Happy Happy Joy Joy” – How do you make people happy?  Can happiness be taught?  What makes that happiness last?

2.      Share and Discuss – Share the happiest day you can remember.  Discuss what made that such a wonderful day.  What made it so special?  Why were you so happy?  If something could have been changed to make it better, what would it have been?

3.      Share and Discuss – If you could create the most perfect day ever, what would it look like?  What are the key elements to making it so perfect?  Do you live in hope that this day will actually happen or is this only a dream day?

4.      Share and Discuss – Do something (play a sport, watch a game that you are really excited to watch) or eat something (chocolate, sushi) that you know everyone in your group likes.  Ask did this make you happy?  (If the full end result was unhappy, ie. your team lost the game, focus on the happy moments.)  How did you respond to that feeling of happiness?  Did the happiness last? If it lasted for some length of time, did it or will it fade?


Main Points (Choose ONE)

1.      Happiness doesn’t last, because it’s based on temporary things.

2.      Joy comes when we focus on the God’s promise rather than the present difficulties.

3.      Real joy—not mere optimism or self-delusion—is a result of the Holy Spirit reminding us constantly that God is trustworthy.



Definitions (Taken from

Happy: Delight, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.  Characterized by or indicative of pleasure,

contentment, or joy.

-origin- Lucky, i.e. to “hap” upon it.

Joy: The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.  A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.


Psalm 119:161-168

161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.  162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.  163 I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law.  164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.  165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.  166 I wait for your salvation, LORD, and I follow your commands.  167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.  168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.

Notice that the troubles around him (v. 161) have less effect on his attitude (v. 162) than his understanding of God and what God has promised (vv. 163-168).

Acts 2:25- 33

25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay.  28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’”  29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Not even death (vv. 27, 29) could destroy David’s joy (vv. 25-26), because he focused on God’s promise of what was coming (vv. 30-33).

1 Thess. 1:5-7

5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

Life was tough for them (v. 6), but they found joy anyway.  It was a gift of the Holy Spirit (vv. 5-6).

Putting It All Together

1.      Joy is a fruit of the spirit—the Holy Spirit, that is.

a.       If you try to be joyful in your own strength—maybe by giving yourself a positive pep talk every morning or when you walk into a test—you’re not going to succeed.

b.      The Holy Spirit constantly reminds us that God is trustworthy.  He’ll keep his promises, so our hope isn’t misplaced.

2.      Happiness comes and goes because it is based on what’s happening around us.

a.       When life takes a rough turn, happiness can evaporate.

3.      Joy is lasting, because it’s based upon who God is.

a.       God is unchanging, so joy is stable.

b.      We focus on God’s promises to us, which give us hope.

4.      As the Holy Spirit brings assurance of our Salvation, He brings us a joy that cannot be taken away, a knowledge that we are loved and cared for.

a.       God “has great plans for us, “plans to prosper us and not harm us, but give us hope and a future.”

b.      This knowledge and truth carries a weight with it that means that whither or not you are temporarily happy, with Jesus you always have joy deep inside.

5.      Joy anchors you in the ups and downs of life to the Rock that doesn’t fail.

~Story~ When I (Madeline) was living in Idaho, I worked for a funeral home.  One day I was called to come help pick up the body of a suicide.  At this point in the job, I had helped pick up several bodies, but this one was unlike any of the others.  From the moment I stepped into the house, it was like there was a joy vacuum.  It felt like hope had been sucked out of the place.  As I helped the police and mortician take pictures and bag the man’s remains I began to learn about who he had been.  He was separated from his wife, had a job that made him unhappy, and had surrounded himself with lots of expensive things. He had nothing, really.  The expensive stuff might have brought him temporary happiness, but none of it had brought him joy.  Only Jesus brings joy that doesn’t fade or leave!

Application Helps

1.      *Share the Assurance of Salvation 1-on-1 with your group

2.      *Ask if anyone would like to receive this joy that doesn’t leave.  Pray with them for salvation.   1. Admit your sins. 2. Believe Jesus is who He said He is.  3. Confess that He is Lord of your life (and ask Him to guide you from here on).

3.      *Share scriptures that bring you joy, (reminds you of the promises you have in God).  Ask other students to share scriptures that bring them (reminds you of the promises you have in God).