Can I Be Happy?
Blaise Pascal said, "All men seek happiness." This is the motive of
every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves."
Christians want to be happy, and God wants us to be happy. But maybe we
should say instead that God wants us to have joy. Happiness depends
upon things that happen. But the joy of God lives forever in our
hearts, regardless of circumstances. The Bible outlines the key to joy
in several key facets as follows:
In order to experience true godly happiness, a person must be a
believer in Jesus Christ. This means that he/she must accept
that fact that he/she is a sinner, and likewise accept God's free
saving grace through the blood of Christ who died on the cross for our
sins. Furthermore, the believer must then maintain his/her
grace orientation. This includes acting in faith rest and
avoiding legalism (Romans 6:14). One can't be up tight and
legalistic, and be happy. The believer must maintain a grace
attitude of "forgive and forget" (Ephesians 4:32). Also, the
believer must grow in this grace, and meditate on it (2 Peter 3:18).
Charles Spurgeon argued that one is compelled to be happy simply by
knowing that his sins are forgiven and he is saved (Isaiah
25:9b). Although this sounds simplistic, happiness is indeed
inevitable through all that it implies. With the realization
of this most important forgiveness, we can then maintain the positive
mental attitude required for happiness. We must relax
(Philippians 4:5-6a), and we must not complain (Philippians 2:14).
Furthermore, we must avoid two very important sources of unhappiness:
anger, or bitterness (Ephesians 4:31), and self-pity (1 Thessalonians
Although we all have daily essentials (Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19),
our attitude of grace enables us to keep these necessities in
perspective. Particularly in the current American society, we must be
especially careful to keep the necessity of money in the proper
perspective (Hebrews 13:5-6).
We learn the keys to happiness from the Bible, so we can't be happy
without learning them through regular Bible study, and meditating on
God's word (John 14:15, Ephesians 4:15,20).
Happiness also requires that we maintain our temporal fellowship with
God through prayer. We are assured of that fellowship through
confession (1 John 1:9), and then we can be assured of his response to
our supplications (Philippians 4:6-7). With such assurances,
how can we be unhappy?
Furthermore, happiness requires fellowship with other believers
(Ephesians 4:31). We must maintain loving relationships with
our fellow believers, and be careful to avoid mental attitude sins such
as hatred and revenge (Romans 12:17-21).
The book of Philippians offers the key to happiness. This is
evidenced by Paul's calling of believers to share in his happiness in
Philippians 4:4-9, even while he was in chains: "Rejoice in the Lord
always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your
gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about
anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends
all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ
Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever
is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in
me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Paul is telling us that in order to be happy, we must relax, pray,
godly thoughts, and perform God's will.
Owen Weber 2009