By Joe Slater
This question usually refers to superficial happiness such as a child feels when given a new toy. Such earthly pleasure isn’t necessarily wrong, but neither should we think it is God’s chief goal for us! He certainly approves when we “eat and drink and enjoy the good of all (our) labor” (Ecclesiastes 3:13). As Solomon found, though, such enjoyment cannot fill the God-shaped void in the heart of every person.
A man who had been unfaithful to his wife tried to rationalize his sin by asking me, “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” He had confused “the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:15) for true happiness.
Undoubtedly Jesus could enjoy a good meal and the satisfaction of a job well done. For those perceptive enough to see it, His sense of humor shines through. We should not view Him as perpetually melancholy and forlorn. Yet Isaiah portrays Him as “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (53:3). What makes us think we, as disciples of Jesus, are entitled to continuous gratification because “God wants us to be happy”?
The imprisoned Paul knew what it was like to have everything he needed and to be in want. “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11-12). Evidently, he didn’t believe the modern “prosperity gospel” (“gospel of health and wealth”).
Genuine Biblical happiness doesn’t depend on your outward circumstances! Being faithful in a covenant relationship with God results in happiness nothing of this world can match! When that’s your concept of happiness then yes, God want’s you to be happy!
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com