Loving God in the Happy Times
In my last article, I talked about loving God in the hard times. For some people, that is the hardest time to believe in Him and show love towards Him. But for other people, the hard times are the times they become most alive spiritually. However, in the happy times, those same people find themselves being distant from God. How close to God are you in your happy times?
Happiness is the most important thing to most individuals. We all want it. We strive for it in everything we do! Experts say that the majority of humanity defines happiness as a feeling of security, pleasure, and relationship. Likewise, the absence of happiness is the absence of any of those things. In our minds, God can’t give us happiness unless He gives us all three of those realities. In that sense, happiness becomes self-righteous. In other words, we think we “earn” or “deserve” our happiness because of who we are and what we do. So, in those times we think we are happy, why pray? Why seek after God? Why love Him? We are happy all by ourselves!
I’m reminded of Solomon in Ecclesiastes, and how he said that perusing pleasure in this world was like trying to hold wind in his hands. Job had everything, lost it all, and then just received replacements instead. His happiness was dependent on a security that wasn’t so secure. Saul constantly compared himself to others, and David had a problem with selfishness. These men sought happiness in relationships with others, but they were their own worst enemies!
What is happiness anyway? Is it wind? Is our happiness contingent upon the momentary pleasures, the hopeful security, and the fragile relationships (that are often destroyed)? In our world, we are all about the “right now” mentality. We want what we want at the moment we want it. Our happiness seems to be circumstantial. The problem is that whenever the circumstances change so does our happiness. It just passes with the wind. It has no real substance to it. But. in God’s world. happiness is having a sense of joy despite circumstances. Our word “happy” comes from the word “happenstance.” This is a word related closely to “circumstance.” There is a reason for that. In our modern, English, 21st century way of thinking, circumstances do control our happiness, but we have little control of our circumstances. However, in God’s language, the word for happy is “blessedness.” It is the idea that while we might not always be in a good place emotionally or physically, we always have a sense of joy and contentment because we know the One from whom all blessings flow. When we do have good things, we realize that all good and perfect gifts come from Him. When we don’t have as much good in our lives, we count our blessings, are thankful for the good we have (and have had), and we realize that God is working all things together for good for those who love Him, whether we understand His wisdom or not.
David said, “this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Every single day is a sign of blessing, and every breath is a monument of grace. This day is a day to remember that you are a child of God and He works with you towards an eternal life of unstoppable joy. All of our blessings come from our Heavenly Father! Paul said he is “content in all things” (Phil 4). The funny thing is that when Paul said this he was in prison. Philippians talks more about joy than almost any other book that Paul wrote, but he has in an awful prison and not too far away from his physical end. I know I know, its easier said than done sometimes, but at the very least it should give you hope.
In the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5) Jesus said some shocking statements about Joy. He said blessed are the empty in spirit. When a horse is trained, the trainers have to break his spirit, stubbornness, and pride so that they can guide him where he needs to go. Jesus said that we should be joyful in our times of brokenness because it is the best opportunity for God to lead us. Jesus said blessed are those who mourn because they have a comforter. Joyful are those who don’t hurt people but are gentle. Happy are those who hunger and thirst for what’s right because God will satisfy their needs. Content are those who have to be merciful because God will also show mercy to them. Blessed are those who aren’t perfect but have a heart for God and others. Joyful are those who make peace with others because God will give them a peace that passes all understanding. And happy are those who are going through persecution because they will receive an eternal family with God in Heaven.
True happiness is not circumstantial, but supernatural. True happiness is not just some feeling, but a reality. True happiness is not a place to visit, but a home! Do you have that? Or is your happiness self-righteous, a situationally dependent idea formed by your works and some lucky chances? You can’t really be happy, even in the “happy times,” if all you are chasing is wind. How do you love God in the happy times? You must remember that true joy is only found in relationship to Him! – Jesse
See Also Loving God in the Hard Times