The difference between joy and happiness – a family devotion

The Secret to EnJOYing Life

What is the difference between joy and happiness? This family devotion will help you learn about the difference between joy and happiness.  You will read some Bible passages together, then answer some questions together. It is a great way to have a spiritual discussion with your kids. This can be a tool to help you as you work to build a spiritual foundation in your kids.

Think about it: What makes you happy? Are you always happy? Often happiness depends on how we feel or what happens to us. It is often based on our circumstances. Having joy is different. Joy comes from knowing the truth about God and his promises for us.

Psalm 118:24

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it

Phillippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.

What does the Bible say about The difference between Joy and Happiness

You can continue to read and answer everything in one sitting, or you may choose to break up the reading and questions into several days to help you have some meaningful conversations with your family.

Read together:

  • Proverbs 15:13
  • Proverbs 15:30
  • Proverbs 17:22

Answer together

If need be, refer back to the verses you just read to answer the questions. Be sure to allow everyone time to answer and discuss. There are no wrong answers- the goal is to have meaningful conversation.

  • Why does the Bible say a cheerful heart is like a medicine?
  • What are some things that can make you joyful?
  • What can a cheerful (happy) attitude do for us?

Remember, you can break today and read and answer the following tomorrow or another day this week.

Read together:

Acts 16:16-40

Answer together:

  • Do you think Paul and Silas were happy? Why?
  • How did Paul and Silas show their joy?
  • Describe how you think the jail cell looked. If you want to, draw a picture of Paul and Silas in jail.

Final Thought: the difference between Joy and Happiness

Our joy does not come from our circumstances the way our happiness does. Our circumstances influence whether we are happy or not. Where we are, the weather, who we are with, what we are doing. All of these things can make us happy (or unhappy) Our joy comes from something bigger– it comes from God. From the forgiveness we have through Jesus and from knowing where we will spend eternity.

When things around us aren’t going our way, or when we aren’t happy, we can remember that our joy comes from God above. Our joy comes from knowing the truth about what God says. We can still have joy, even if we are not happy.

One of the verses we read above says “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24.  Knowing that God created today, and all the things we see is enough to give us reason to have joy, or to rejoice! Seeing the things God has created can help remind us of what he has done for us, that he has forgiven us.

If you have not prayed and asked God to forgive you, it’s easy to do. When you ask Him to forgive you and help you, He will! Then you will experience the greatest joy.

Pray together and ask God to forgive you and help you remember the reasons you have to be joyful.

So what do you think? Is it easy for you to tell the difference between joy and happiness? What makes you happy? Where does your joy come from? Leave a comment and let me know if this helped you have a great family discussion!

More family devotion resources

If you are looking for more resources to help teach your kids about faith and have quality family devotion time, check out some of these articles.

David the Giant Killer

David’s Friendship

Finding Faith

Go for the gold with God

More lessons and devotions here

Got Fruit?

Are youAmazon #1 image looking for more great family devotion resources? Check out an Amazon #1 best selling children’s ministry book: Got Fruit: a guide to family devotions based on the fruit of the spirit. This is the entire set of devotions, all in one place!

Your child’s relationship with God must extend beyond Sunday morning. Parents have to take a leading role in the discipleship of their kids. Based on the Fruit of the Spirit, Got Fruit? is an effective tool to help parents disciple their children.
If you are looking for help with your family devotion time, click here– Got Fruit? is for you! Through this devotional you will be guided through discussions that build on each of the 9 fruits of the spirit. Each of the 9 devotionals include bible passages that highlight the highlighted fruit as well as a few related thoughts. Also included is a series of discussion questions that will help you guide your children in a conversation to bring truth and understanding. This short devotional is a perfect tool to guide you as you disciple your children into a deeper relationship and understanding with God.

About the Author

Ron is happily married to his best friend, and dad to the best daughter you could imagine. As a teacher and children's pastor, he has over 20 years experience of teaching, leading, writing, creating and consulting. He has written for churches, contributed to several collaborative publications, and written a #1 Best Selling Devotional, Got Fruit? on Amazon. His blog is consistantly listed in the Top 40 Children's Ministry Blogs and Websites. Don't hesitate to ask if you think he could help you and your ministry in any way.

2 Comments on "The difference between joy and happiness – a family devotion"

  1. Thanks Ron for your insights and words. I noticed there is a typo…: it comes from God. From the forgiveness we ahve through Jesus and

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