Christian Values: Happiness
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you. Psalms 84:10-12
In Ben MacConnell’s study of Christian values, happiness came in at number five. Of all the instructions contained in Scripture for living a righteous life, references to happiness occur more frequently than all but four other ideals. In his work, MacConnell researched the frequency of use of the 20 characteristics he identified for the study, as well as their related synonyms and antonyms. Important related terms for happiness likely included joy, pleasure, delight, and contentment.
Some may feel happiness, while pleasant to experience, is not an important ideal to strive for as a Christian. One might argue, correctly, that happiness is a fleeting emotion that can result from distinctly non-Christian acts, such as making fun of another. Others would say there are no guarantees Christians will have an easier life than non-Christians will, so how can happiness relate to following Christ? Personally, I believe one needs to consider the context in which happiness occurs in the Bible, along with its synonyms of joy and contentment, in order to understand Godly happiness. Certainly, earthly parents desire happiness for their children, so why would our heavenly Parent desire less for us?
Followers of Jesus find joy in his presence. The Psalmist says, “…a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” Likewise, “No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Christian happiness is not a fleeting emotion, but a perpetuating state of mind growing from a strong relationship with the Almighty. In that holy relationship, believers feel secure, loved, and valued. The love of God helps followers transcend the challenges of days, weeks, months, and even years of hardship. When one’s life-foundation is solid, deep, and immovable, the life built on that foundation is better able to withstand whatever storms and hardships come at it. Christian happiness sprouts from that type of a spiritual foundation, one that gives us reason to live with optimism and joy, finding pleasure in simply being a part of God’s creation regardless of the current circumstances. Everyone desires happiness, so being happy is an effective evangelizing tool when others seek the source of our joy.
Come home to church this Sunday. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…