Saturday, April 16, 2005


Christian Happiness

Adrian Warnock has issued a Blogging Challenge. He wants us to respond to these words:
At Desiring God we are blood-earnest about helping people be as happy as possible in God. Because those who are not satisfied in God are not free, but slaves to the futility of seeking their happiness in this world. But those who are satisfied in God are free indeed. They are free to feed the hungry, care for the diseased, comfort the abused, minister to the poor, treat the addicted, speak hope to the despairing and serve on the most difficult mission fields. They are free to lose their lives because they know where to find LIFE.

So for the sake of God's glory and the happiness and freedom of the saints, we are pouring our lives into producing and distributing resources that help them grasp the crucial truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. For in its absence, every aspect of kingdom work eventually suffers
I have had a lifelong struggle with the question of being happy as a Christian. For many years I have felt that while I was supposed to be joyful (read content), but that happiness was not necessarily always possible.

Then I started listening to Dennis Prager on the radio who has written a book on the subject of happiness. Dennis contends:
Happiness is an obligation - to Yourself and to Others

Not only do we have the right to be happy, we have an obligation to be happy. Our happiness has an effect on the lives of everyone around us - it provides them with a positive environment in which to thrive and to be happy themselves.
On the radio I have heard Dennis contend many times that we have "a moral obligation to be happy." This idea produced a bit of a "hmmm...." response from me, that is until I got married. As my mood has risen and fallen on that of my wife, and vice-versa, I have come to see the wisdom of this contention.

But then Dennis is a Jew, so for him finding happiness really is a serious problem, and a matter of hard work. And now, I really love being a Christian, because happiness for us is a matter of letting go.

As oxymoronic as it seems, I first found real happiness when I reached the nothingness point that I discuss in the post immediately below. It is only when I discovered my own inadequacy, may own overwhelming need for God, that I could discover the true breadth and depth of God's amazing love for me, and that put a smile on my face in the midst of tears.

I fully understand the point that the quote Adrain draws upon is trying to make, but I might say it differently. Satisfaction, or happiness, is not what sets me free. Rather it is the freedom that I have when I reside wholly in God's love that creates in me real happiness. But either way, the result is the same, operating out of that freedom and happiness creates a situation in which service is not a chore but a pleasure.


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