The Greek word for “joy” is chara, derived from the word charis, which is the Greek word for grace. This is important to note, for it tells us categorically that chara (“joy”) is produced by the charis (“grace”) of God. This means “joy” isn’t a human-based happiness that comes and goes. Rather, true “joy” is divine in origin, a fruit of the Spirit that is manifested particularly in hard times. Someone may feel happiness, merriment, hilarity, exuberance, excitement, or “high spirits,” but all of these are fleeting emotions. On the other hand, “joy” is a Spirit-given expression that flourishes best when times are strenuous, daunting, and tough!
The word happiness emboldens visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with the one you love, being surprised on your birthday, responding with unbridled laughter to a comedian, or vacationing to an exotic locale. Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a lifelong pursuit: spending money, collecting things, and searching for new experiences. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, and the party is over? Often happiness flees despair sets in.
In contrast to happiness stands [Joy]. Running deeper and stronger, [Joy] is the quiet confident assurance of Gods love and work in our lives — that he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but [Joy] depends on Christ.
He is an example given in First Thessalonians 1:6, the Thessalonians were under great stress due to persecution; yet in the midst of it all, they continued to experience great joy. In fact, the Greek strongly implies that their supernatural joy was due to the Holy Spirit working inside them. Paul even called it the “joy of the Holy Ghost.”