Does God want us to be happy?
I am watching a video that my mom sent me of my son when he was a baby. She is hitting the ground, and he is just laughing up a storm. He is giggling and smiling, and it just filled my heart with Joy. This got me thinking about how our heavenly Father delights in our joy. He wants us to see us smiling and laughing.
However, there is a difference between us being filled with joy and us being filled with happiness. We live in a culture that screams, “do what makes you happy”. We are told by movies, and the radio that if you think that something will make you happy, you cannot let anything stand in your way. The problem is happiness is momentary, it is fleeting. My son laughs uncontrollably when my mom is hitting the floor. In my experience, when my mom stopped hitting the floor he usually stopped laughing. This is how happiness seems to work. There are a lot of “things” that can make you happy, but how do you feel when that thing is taken? The world would say you just need to find a bigger and better thing.
The Bible tells a different tale. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”. Perhaps when we ask, ‘Does God want us to be happy?’ we are focusing on the wrong thing. God wants us to be filled with joy. Joy is something that is eternal, because it is not brought about by something, but someone. We find joy in our relationship with God. The verse above says that we find our peace in our belief in Christ. This world is falling apart, but so many are looking to things to make themselves happy, rather than growing closer to God. When we are close to God we think less in temporal happiness, and more in eternal joy.
So now what? I hope this week you can spend more time focused on the things of God, and the joy he provides. I hope you can spend less time chasing the things the world says will make you happy. When we chase happiness, we are like the dog chasing a car. What do you do when you catch it?