Happiness and the Christian

Are Christians supposed to be happy? Are happiness and joy really that different? What exactly *is* the difference? Aren’t we supposed to strive for holiness more than happiness? Was Jesus happy on earth? Is God happy?

The gospel is good news, right? If we believe it to be such, I think living lives of misery likely doesn’t do much toward showing others the love of Jesus.

My ideas about happiness have certainly changed in the last year or so. It started when I read The Happniess Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Her message so deeply resonated with me that I blogged about it, I led an online book club through it and I’ve given the book as gifts. The message has been further applied in my life as I have read 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life and 60 Days of Happiness: Discover God’s Promise of Relentless Joy by Randy Alcorn.

“Among Christ-followers, happiness was once a positive, desirable word. Only in recent times have happiness and joy been set in contrast with each other. This isn’t just biblically and historically ungrounded; it has undermined our understanding of merriment, pleasure, and joy. Are laughter, celebration, and happiness God-created gifts, or are they ambushes from Satan and our sin nature that incur God’s disapproval? Our answer determines whether our faith in God is dragged forward by duty or propelled by delight.” Randy Alcorn from 60 Days of Happiness.

I knew that my life as a believer would include suffering. I knew that Jesus suffered and so would we. I honestly thought that God desired my holiness and NOT my happiness.

God does call us to holiness, of course, YES. But, through our lives of obedience and service and living out the uniqueness of who God has made us to be…there is joy. There is happiness.

I don’t think that there truly is so much difference between joy and happiness. I think we use those words interchangeably and try to make joy sound a little holier. {grin} Not that there is anything wrong with choosing our words carefully or feeling strongly about certain words.

Did you know the Bible references happiness?

Have you ever read this famous passage from Matthew?

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Blessed = Happy

In the original language, the word that Jesus is using in this passage means happy. Hmmm. Although He uses the word happy, the things he tells us will make us happy are not traditionally thought of us happy things. Oh, but that is the way of the cross…that is the way of Jesus…and I think that is the key to understanding happiness as a Christian.

Happiness doesn’t look like what the world says happiness is. As believers, we can find happiness {and joy!} in things that the world may think are crazy. 

For the JOY set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. (Hebrews 12)

Finding joy in giving of your life on a cross?

There is joy to be found in living a life of love. Jesus was the perfect and ultimate example.

There is joy to be found even in sorrow.

There is happiness to be found in obedience.

There is a deep seated happiness in knowing our eternity is secure.

There is a blessedness in knowing Jesus and reminding our hearts that we are never alone.

Let’s take back the word HAPPY

So, I say it’s time that we, as believers, TAKE BACK the word happy. Let’s not look at it as a bad word. Let’s remind our hearts that joy and happiness can be very similar and both can be wonderful benefits of living a life in Jesus. Let’s not look condescendingly at people who use the word happy, but on the same token, if someone has a conviction about the word let’s show grace. Either way: grace. Whether you like the word happy or you don’t, there is grace for you.

And you know what? Grace is one of the ultimate happy gifts of Christ. Let’s enjoy Him.

Author: Candace Crabtree

I'm Candace and I'm grateful you're here. It is my heart's desire to encourage you while you're visiting and remind your heart of the truths of God's Word and the power of HIs love to transform lives. Great is His faithfulness! {Note: this blog does use affiliate links.}

1 thought on “Happiness and the Christian”

  1. I think Happiness is something we chose. Many times I get down about life’s events and then Jesus reminds me to just trust Him and everything will be ok. I find the closer I stay to Him the happier I am!

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