I always find it strange when I hear followers of Jesus debating whether we should be happy, and whether God actually wants us to be happy. I often blog, speak and share about how Jesus wants us all to be Happy, Saved and Free! But some people wonder how far I should really take this. I mean, does God really care about happiness? Doesn’t He just want us to be holy? Isn’t Christianity about giving up and serving, not laying back and enjoying?
“Some people criticize “feel good” Christianity. I’m so sorry, but that’s how Jesus makes you feel…” – Rolland Baker
I love the story in Numbers 21 where the people of God are wondering round the desert. God has performed incredible miracles to save them from slavery, and now He is supernaturally providing them and guiding them through the desert. But “the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.” They wanted to go home, they were sick and tired of life the way it was.
So God sent some snakes to the people. The snakes came out and started biting people and people started dying! Pretty quickly the people rushed to God for help, and as they repented they asked God to save them from these snakes. God told Moses to make a bronze snake, put it on a pole, and said, “everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” And they did.
What is the point of all that? The point is this, when we look at our circumstances we will often begin complaining. Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Tragic, unfair, overwhelming things happen to us – and being a Christian doesn’t stop disaster from coming to our front door. But God has a plan to save you and get you through.
He simply says, “Look at me and live.” You see, the Bible tells us that in His presence is fullness of joy, pleasure forever more! Just being with Jesus will make you happy. He does that. He loves people well. He is encouraging. He is accepting. He is honest, kind, and compassionate. He is powerful and full of grace.
Don’t get me wrong, there will still be tears. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief! Paul described himself as sorrowful yet always rejoicing! We will grieve, although not the way the world does. And although things will happen to us, they don’t have to affect the inner reality that we can choose joy.
John Piper says it like this, “God wants you happy. But he doesn’t do it with circumstance. He does it with himself. He does it with the gospel.” God does want you to be happy, saved and free! It is a natural bi-product of simply being in relationship with Him! Jesus is so good, that whatever you are going through is no match for His goodness! Jesus is enough! If we keep our eyes on Him we can live with eternal joy!
It is all about what we are focussing on. Are we looking to our circumstances with all our problems, hopelessness, and impossibilities, or are we looking to the perfect Jesus, the real joy giver?
Jesus is real! He is alive! He is closer than you think, and better than you can imagine! If you are not happy, I encourage you to simply look to Him. Read some Jesus stories, ask Him to speak to you. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you now. You may feel like you’re talking to the ceiling at first, but as you call out to Him He will answer you and fill you with joy unspeakable.