Chuck Allen, Pastor
Does God Want You to Be Happy?
Do you know that God wants you to be happy? The Scriptures say, “Let those that seek [God] rejoice and be glad…Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks….Shout joyfully to the Lord all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praise… Be glad and rejoice with me…Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice…Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks” Psalm 40:16; 70:4; 105:3; 97:12; 98:4; Philippians 2:18; 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
There can be no doubting that God wants us to be happy and is pleased when we are happy. Newsflash—Christians are to be a joyful, joy-filled people.
When I think of the wonderful land in which we live and the abundant freedoms we enjoy, it is difficult to comprehend that so many folks are unhappy. The vast majority of Americans, and among them Followers of Jesus, cannot say truly without qualification, “I AM HAPPY!”
An online poll of U.S. adults, conducted last month, used a series of questions to determine Americans’ levels of contentment and life satisfaction. Overall, just 33 percent of Americans said that they were happy,
Why Are We So Unhappy?
How is it that the majority of Americans, the most blessed nation on earth are unhappy? How can it be that among them the most religious and spiritually blessed people in the world are professing their own unhappiness?
What possible explanations can be offered for this miserable mess of unhappiness, especially when there are literally hundreds and hundreds of passages in the Bible that speak of God’s desire for our happiness and which provide guidelines that will lead us to real happiness? Basically, I believe that there is only one hindrance to the happiness of the people of God.
Abraham Lincoln observed, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Centuries before Lincoln, the Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius said, “No man is happy who does not think himself so.”
I have concluded that the unhappiness of Americans in general and Christians in particular is a result of not having a proper disposition toward the people, things, and circumstances which we encounter every day. The Scriptures indicate that this happiness which we all seek is found only by properly ordering our lives in relation to Christ and his will.
A Spiritual Mind Is a Happy Mind—
Matthew chapter 5 is the great chapter on “happiness.”
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
In these verses Jesus tells us that our happiness is the result of having our minds filled with a right understanding of reality and our hearts set on a desire for spiritual things. When our lives are so ordered we will be happy. Let’s develop this idea by considering some specific principles that produce happiness.
Happiness Cannot Be Found in Having Everything You Desire—
It is better to desire the things we have, than to have the things we desire. That was from Solomon, who after he had sought every desire of his heart said, 9 So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. 10 Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. 11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.Ecclesiastes. 2:9–11.
Solomon was arguably the richest man that ever lived and he indulged every desire, whim and inclination he had–-when all was said and done he was miserable–-his life was empty and his spirit was crushed.
Happiness is being satisfied with what we have got and with what we haven’t got. The Apostle Paul who said, 6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. Timothy 6:6–10.
Paul understood that we can easily deceive ourselves into believing that others are happier than we are because of their possessions; therefore, we struggle to have what they have in order to be as “happy” as we perceive they are.
Solomon finally figured out, “All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied” Ecclesiastes 6:7.
Happiness Isn’t Being Someone Different We Aren’t —
I’ve heard it said, We love in others what we lack in ourselves, and would be everything but what we are.
I have heard people say, “Oh, how happy I would be if I only had the _____ that she has.” And I know you have heard someone say, “I know that I would be happy if I could do ________ like he does.”
None of us will be happy until and unless we are able to accept ourselves as we are. The Bible recognizes that we each have limitations in ability, personality, and resources.
Basically, there are three kinds of people in the world–-the “wills,” the “wont’s,” and the “cant’s.” This first kind does everything, the second kind opposes everything, and the third fails at everything. Many of us are failing because we will not do what we can do and be pleased with it.
Happiness Isn’t Found Running from Here to Somewhere Else—
A seasoned Christian doesn’t seek happiness in the distance; they man grow it under their feet.” Hey Folks – you can be happy wherever you are.
The nation of Israel, you might remember was under terrible persecution and oppressive bondage at the hands of the Egyptians. God sent them Moses to deliver them out of their suffering and into a new land–-the land God promised to their Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When the prospect of inheriting a land flowing with milk and honey was set before them they were delighted to go and made preparation to depart that dark land of misfortune.
But, Israel couldn’t be happy anywhere, until they had God in the center of their hearts. I love the words of Caleb in response to the fear and doubt of the majority–-“We are well able to overcome it” Numbers 13:30. The fearful, the doubtful and the negative will never be happy no matter where he goes.
God wants you to be happy and He has made it possible for you to be truly happy through Jesus. All that is left for us to do is make up our minds that we want to be happy.
Happy isn’t what you are…Happy is whose you are! You get to pick!
What’s in your heart?
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