3. No, Seriously Does God Want You To Be Happy?

I was going to move on to Feelings, which Christians mostly use to determine Happiness.

But Herself brought up a comment to the last post, Seriously, Does God Want You To Be Happy? Here are is part of the comment:

…happiness is doing God’s Will.  We are happy only if we are united with God.  We are unhappy when we are separated from God. How do we become separated from God?  By ignoring God’s Will.

I would bring down her great observation from the ideal, to the real like this:

…happiness should be doing God’s Will.  We should be happy only if we are united with God.  We should be unhappy when we are separated from God. How do we become separated from God?  By ignoring God’s Will.

I need to be clear what I mean by Happiness. To help, I’m going to capitalize the word from here on. Unfortunately for us, the English language can be a hindrance to communication. My use of Happiness is inherently self-centered:

  • “I feel good”
  • “Things are going my way”
  • “My needs are fulfilled”
  • “I got what I wanted”

So in that sense, you can achieve Happiness while being out of God’s Will.

I think that Herself might apply her use of happiness like this:

  • “Doing God’s Will is what really makes me feel good”
  • “I am happy with any way things go, if it’s God’s Will”
  • “I trust that God fulfills my needs whether I see it or not ­— and that makes me happy”
  • “What I want is God’s will”

I would substitute the word “Happy,” in those uses with the word “joy.” I don’t really think it’s really picking nits.

Think about these examples, in context of the word we usually think of as Happiness:

  • Were the early Christians happy while being persecuted?
  • Was Dietrich Bonheoffer happy while standing before the firing line of the Nazis?
  • Was Abraham happy standing knife in hand, held over his son Isaac?
  • Was Jesus happy as the nails were pounded?

The answer to all of those would be “No, they were not Happy.” They were in God’s Will and their unHappiness even came because of God’s Will.

Further, I think we could be hard pressed to even think of them as joyful in those moments — that’s a concept that’s a bit hard to catch up with. I have a hard time seeing Abraham being joyful with the knife pointed downward.

I also think I’m straying from the point, because those are very brief and precise points in time; unique moments involving terrible experience, which we can’t by nature, combine with any human attitude. Church legends aside, can we feel even joyful as the nail goes through the bone, or the fire through the flesh?

But those moments depart, and it’s then that our attitude toward them enters.

My point in my discussion about Happiness is that typically our attitude is driven toward a self centered Happiness that often is out God’s Will. Sometimes the “pursuit of Happiness,” blinds us so that we don’t even see it. That’s not what God wants.

We really need to STOP striving to be Happy.

Strive for God’s Will whether or not that brings you Happiness. If it means for you, sacrifice, then sacrifice. If it means blessings, then blessings whatever that might mean.

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One thought on “3. No, Seriously Does God Want You To Be Happy?

  1. Joe

    The problem I have with equating “being in God’s will” with “being happy” is that being happy about something doesn’t mean it’s right, good for you, or anything in particular – other than you like it.

    I recognize that people to take this approach have no intention of being arrogant, nevertheless I think it’s pretty self centered to think that God works in accordance with our emotions. According to me, we don’t see far enough or clearly enough to even know what’s good for us. What I’m happy about one day often proves to have unhappy consequences that aren’t seen till later. Likewise, I’ve often been disappointed with an outcome to a prayer, only to find out in the long run it was good for me, or someone else.

    I don’t think it’s our job to be happy or unhappy. I think we’re supposed to learn to recognize His voice and follow it. We have to depend on God for that, not our emotions.

    I don’t mean this to sound like it’s addressed to “Herself”, I’m just thinking out loud, so to speak.

    Reply

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