Recent quotes from a well known speaker have raised red flags on my truthometer — particularly one that read “If you’re not happy, that’s on you.” It was like a carrot baiting readers to start striving for happiness. Truth is, happiness is a cheap, man-made, temporary version of what we really want. I looked up happiness in the index of my Bible and there was NOT A SINGLE ENTRY, instead it read, “happiness — see joy.”
I laughed. My truthometer was right.
Sirens were going off in my spirit for a reason. I’ve lived through some really unhappy seasons that led to growth and strength. They led me to a stronger faith in Jesus.
Social media is a plague that is spreading the idol of happiness. Truth is, we can spend our whole lives chasing, changing, and reaching for happiness and it will flit in and out leaving us frustrated and unfulfilled.
Believing that happiness is all on us, urges happiness forward into first priority in our lives and grants ourselves reign over it. Both of which are false. Not once did Jesus seek His own happiness. His joy was in doing the work His Father sent Him to do. And most times that was messy and hard. And we are His followers.
Not once did Jesus seek His own happiness. His joy was in doing the work His Father sent Him to do. And most times that was messy and hard. And we are His followers.
“If you’re not happy, it’s on you” may be a clever and catchy post, but living by that motto we lose sight of other things that are more important than our instant gratification of happiness.
The idol of happiness says, leave the marriage find another, you’ll be happier with that other one. Quit the job, there’s not enough money, you’ll be happier if you have more money. Motherhood is too exhausting, have a glass of wine, you’ll be happier if you go out more. Quit the friendship because it’s too hard, you’ll be happier without her. Move, keep moving, because a bigger house will make you happy. Until it doesn’t anymore.
Being happy is a blessing until it becomes our goal. There’s always something better, and then something better than that. Happier is out there somewhere. And it makes us feel less than because we can’t grasp it every moment of every day.
But joy, JOY is found by anyone, anywhere, anytime in Christ. It is God’s desire for His people for us to be filled to the brim with joy because that comes from God, not from man, and therefore doesn’t depend on our circumstances, our choices, or our striving. It’s a gift we experience as we do life with Jesus.
JOY is found by anyone, anywhere, anytime in Christ. It’s a gift we experience as we do life with Jesus.
As I looked joy up in my Bible’s index, here’s what I found…
Joy comes from the Spirit of God, it is not “on us.”
We find joy in worshiping God, in recognizing God is God and we are not.
There’s joy that we are saved, that we can give all our junk to Christ and be forgiven.
Joy in suffering because we are not alone in it because our God is with us.
Joy in servanthood! Serving people gives us joy!
Joy is found always, in all circumstances. When we live with Christ.
Let’s not limit ourselves to finding our own happiness. Let’s take the overflowing gift of JOY God’s Spirit offers instead. And let’s not be afraid of hard seasons. We need Jesus to flood our days with His joy even when it’s hard, because sometimes the hard leads to something good.
So we have a choice to make as followers of Jesus these days. We can listen to the loudest megaphone telling us what we want to hear, like that we can make our own happiness, or we can seek truth by reading our Bibles for ourselves. One leads to folly, the other safeguards our life.
*If you are in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship please seek help. That is not a matter of a lack of happiness, that is abuse and abuse is NEVER condoned by God.