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Doesn’t God Just Want Me to be Happy?

What Would You Say?

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Doesn’t God Just Want Me to be Happy?


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You’re in a conversation and someone says, “I think God just wants us to be happy.” What would you say? Often, when people talk about being happy, they’re usually referring to how they feel about their circumstances--things like their job, their relationships, their hobbies, and their health. If those kinds of things are going the way we want, we’re happy. If they’re not going the way we want, we’re unhappy. In the Psalms, David describes God as causing dancing and gladness, and David praises him for it because it’s a good thing. (Psalm 30) But there’s also many examples in the Bible of God allowing very difficult things to happen to His people. Job was a blameless and upright man, and God considered him to be his servant. And yet, God allowed Job to endure devastating circumstances. Even Jesus said that his disciples should expect difficulties in the world. (Matt 16:24, John 16:33) There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, but the next time someone says God just wants us to be happy, remember these 3 things: Number 1: God never promises that we will be happy. But He does promise abundant life, and that starts now, regardless of circumstances. The life God wants for you is so much more than a circumstantial feeling of happiness. He promises abundant life, and that life starts as soon as we enter relationship with Him, not when everything is in order and circumstances are right. The life we have because of the Gospel – because Jesus died and rose to redeem us and have relationship with us – is not something that we have to wait for. It starts now. We’re called, now, to a life filled with purpose, joy, hope, wisdom, and peace – which is better than circumstantial happiness. These things result from a dynamic relationship with God. If we think that happiness is always possible or that it’s what we deserve, we’ll end up on a roller coaster of resent and regret. But the life God wants for us is more than circumstantial happiness, not less. Number 2: What makes us happy is not always what’s best. Too often, the words “God just wants me to be happy” are used to justify actions or priorities that don’t line up with God’s will. It’s because God loves us that He’s set up limits and boundaries for us, and offers wisdom for how to live. This is what a good father does. Think about it – if a father loves his child, he won’t just cater to his child’s wants and grant wishes like a genie. A good father is going to set up boundaries so his kid doesn’t get hurt. He’ll tell his child not to play in a busy street, not to touch the stove top, and not to get in cars with strangers. These limits stem from love. In the same way, God gives us limits, and if it’s his love we’re trusting in, we’ll live within those limits. God knows that what makes us happy is not always what’s best for us. This doesn’t mean that God wants you to be unhappy. He’s created you for so much more than that, which leads to our third point. Number 3: God’s priority is his glory, which leads to real joy. Our greatest good, and therefore God’s priority for us, is that we grow in holiness to glorify him. Passages like Romans 5 and James 1 even talk about how difficult circumstances give us the opportunity to become more holy. That growth takes patience, discipline, and maturity, but it is the thing that will ultimately lead to a more permanent happiness than what circumstances can provide. The happiness that comes from our circumstances fluctuates. It’s short-lived. But the Bible talks about something even better than that happiness called Joy. Rather than being temporary or fluctuating, Joy stays, because it’s based on the permanency of God. It’s a kind of deep contentment, confidence, and hope that results from having relationship with God, who will never leave us no matter how bad things get (Hebrews 13:5). And, it’s a command. In Philippians 4:4, the Apostle Paul tells Christians to rejoice in the Lord always. That doesn’t always look like smiling or laughing all the time. It’s more like a deep and constant hope in God that weathers all circumstances – good or bad. So the next time you’re in a conversation and someone says “God just wants me to be happy,” remember these three things: Number 1: God never promises that we will be happy. But He does promise abundant life, and that starts now, regardless of circumstances. Number 2: What makes us happy is not always what’s best. Number 3: God’s priority is his glory, which leads to real joy. For What Would You Say, I’m Brooke McIntire.


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