Are You Happy?

Did you know that six of the seven dwarfs were NOT happy. Personally I found that a bit surprising but who am I to argue with scientific research. Are you happy? Yes? No? Maybe so? What is happiness?

Happy means delighted, pleased, or glad, characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy. Synonyms:  joyous, joyful, blithe, cheerful, merry, contented, gay, blissful, satisfied, favorable, propitious, successful, prosperous.

OK, so now that we know the definition of happiness, what is it? Is it an emotion? Is it a feeling? Also, are feelings different from emotions? I feel hungry, is hunger an emotion? Probably not but I don’t know, maybe. For that matter what are love and hate? Are they emotions, feelings, a state of mind?

Oh my goodness! Now I’m confused, wait, is that an emotion? No, confusion is a state of mind. What is emotion?

The definition of emotion is a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. Wow, that clears it up…

Are there a fixed number of emotions? Answering that may be difficult, so instead let’s try to establish the basic or primary emotions experienced by mankind. Apparently theorist differ as to the basic, primary emotions but the general consensus is: love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, fear; all other secondary and tertiary emotions derive from these or a combination of these.

In reviewing that list, I’m reminded of the list of the fruits of the Spirit found in the book of Galatians.

Galatians 5:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.(ESV)

So where is happiness? I see joy, is that the same thing as happiness? The dictionary definition has them as synonymous but are they?  If you look at the etymology of the words they are different. Happy is derived from the root word hap, which means happening, chance, fortune, or luck. The etymology for joy found in Galatians 5:22 comes from the Greek word xara(“joy”) which has a direct etymological link to the Greek words xairo(“to rejoice”) and xaris(“grace”), so the meaning of joy in this verse is almost literally to delight and rejoice in God’s grace.

Now here’s the difference(as far as I can tell), happiness is based on circumstances, the things that life throws at you, happiness comes and goes. Your son hits the game winning home run or strikes out the last batter to win the game – you’re happy, you go to work the next day and find out that you now have to share a cubicle with the most obnoxious co-worker at your office – you’re not happy. Joy on the other hand is based on your relationship with the Lord.

Philippians 4:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.(ESV)

Sometimes the things in this life interfere with our relationship with our Lord and we start to lose our joy, even David had to pray in Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.(ESV) If you find yourself questioning the Lord’s love for you,  look up to the cross to be reminded of what kind of love He has for you!

Hebrews 12:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(ESV)

Happiness is having the joy of the Lord! Are you happy?

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