The ultimate goal in life for many is to be happy. Advice to be happy is so ubiquitous as to be cliché. Even some Christians have fallen for this trap of thinking.
“Do what makes you happy!”
“Avoid people that rob your happiness.”
As along as they are happy, life is good. Unhappiness is the enemy. They sacrifice all for happiness, without which life would have no real purpose.
But if this were right, then why would we need Christ to be happy? You can be happy without him. In fact, many are happier without him.
Jesus Christ lived a shorter life than the average rock star, and died by crucifixion without saying a word in his own defense. Was Christ happy on the cross?
People who name Christ are slaughtered, chased from their house, tortured, and starved in some countries. In our own country being a Christian may get you mocked by the talking heads and town atheists. Not a happy experience either way.
Ignorance is bliss, but learning the truth from Christ about sin and righteousness exposes the realities of a broken world and humanity. Where is happiness in living the Christian life?
This must be why I’ve never seen “knowledge of Jesus Christ” and “fellowship of his sufferings” on any list of habits by happy people.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” – 1 Cor 15:19
The Gospel of Happiness
If happiness is the ultimate goal in life, then Jesus Christ can easily get in the way.
Christ did not come to make men happy, nor does he promise us a life of happiness now. Why would anyone want to be a Christian, potentially sacrifice their happiness, and sometimes their lives to know him?
Christians know not every frown is turned upside down by pursuing personal happiness. Not every problem can be solved by eating your eggs sunny side up and looking at the bright side of life.
Can happiness replace Christ? Certainly not. The gospel of happiness ignores real problems supposing that achieving happiness is possible by everyone at all times. In other words, living life just to be happy is living in a dream world. It is fake, juvenile, and ignorant.
Isn’t there a way to be happy without hiding the truth? (Prov 3:13)
The best “a happy life” can do is make terminally ill patients feel better on their deathbed. They still die in their sins. Their families are still sad. Unhappiness abounds.
It is far better to give those who are dying the cure for death, even if it requires momentary pain, harsh realities, and unhappiness toward us. Would not the cure bring more lasting joy than whatever personal happiness exists without it?
Happiness and Christ
Happiness is wonderful, but it is not the purpose of life, nor is it the answer to real life problems.
So, what is the alternative to being happy all the time? Are Christians ministers of sadness, grumpiness, and general negativity? Nonsense! Christians minister salvation from this depressing condition through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What we need is the truth about life now, and a way for us all to have new life. Where do we find righteousness that solves all wrongs, peace that endures, and joy that lasts beyond our vain masquerade of happiness?
Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
This is why Christ died, and why people are willing to die knowing him. God provides forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and new life freely in Christ Jesus.
Life in Christ is greater than a happy life without him (Mal 3:15; Prov 11:4).
Joy in the Christian Life
What prevents perpetual misery in the Christian life? The hope of resurrection glory in Christ Jesus.
Happiness can be as fleeting and rare as the rainbows it rides in on. Christ is alive today and forever, and his death and resurrection is offered unto you for eternal life.
Though the Christian may at first appear to do everything wrong to achieve happiness, a life with Christ is the only way to know longsuffering with joyfulness.
The gospel of happiness is certainly not the gospel we preach. We preach the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the glory of his resurrection after death. There is joy found in this hope of glory. There is contentment and glory in Christ.
Life is not about finding true happiness, but about finding true life in Christ Jesus. Trust God to provide what you need (Eph 2:7). Have no confidence in what you think makes you happy (Phil 3:3).
Do not choose to act based upon what makes you happy. Make choices according to the will of God.
If your happiness is robbed by this world, then rejoice in the Lord and not in yourself.
If life does not make you smile, shed tears in prayer to God being thankful that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:18).
“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” – Romans 12:15
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” – Phil 4:4