Oftentimes we do not equate happiness to joy. Other times, we equate seeking God to forfeiting happiness. But what I have realized is that joy, gladness, happiness are all synonymous and our God wants all of them for us. Seeking God does not mean forfeiting happiness, He actually wants to give us the desires of our hearts.
Psalms 37:4-5 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.”
And when we commit to Him, we find everything. He offers us immeasurable happiness and joy unspeakable through Him. Does this mean you will never be sad or that you will never experience hardships? — No. But what it does mean is that we find hope and comfort in Jesus and those bad times become a bit more bearable and through those trials, He is molding us to be more like Him. He knows far more about suffering than we will ever know and because of that He offers us the gift of true and lasting happiness.
“It is a christian duty .. for everyone to be as happy as he can.” – CS Lewis
The true happiness that is found in God should be outwardly apparent in us. In fact, if you’re a christian it is you’re duty to be happy in Christ. There is a negative connotation often associated with duties, but as we are molded into the image of Christ and as we seek nothing beyond Him, this should become involuntary — like breathing. Because He alone is good.
I think this quote best articulates what I’m thinking – “Our happiness makes the gospel contagiously appealing; our unhappiness makes it alarmingly unappealing.” – CS Lewis
One very important thing to remember is that others will view Jesus by how we act. If we as Christians are not happy, then why would someone else bother learning about Him? So, why, if you are a Christian, are you begrudging, miserable, judgmental? You may be suffering, you may be grieving. Perhaps you are at a time in your life when you are not desiring God or perhaps, you haven’t sincerely committed yourself to God?
Instead of contrasting joy and happiness in this post, I think a better contrast would be true happiness vs false happiness. There is a false, finite happiness apart from God that is found in quick fixes and fleeting moments and false securities of our world. True, enduring happiness only comes from seeking Him. As human beings we desire happiness and only our Creator can fully satisfy that desire. What a privilege it is to be happy in Him.