It’s OK to Be Happy
by Tim McConnell
You know, you are allowed to be happy.
Everybody wants happiness. We are all chasing it. Sometimes we chase it in very superficial ways, expecting happiness to come from immediate self-gratification. But that is not where true happiness lies. After a few failures and selfish attempts at happiness, our responsible Christian selves take over to correct the course—“Stop trying to be happy. Just be responsible!” But this is not God’s intent for us either. I can’t find anywhere in Scripture where we are commanded to be the miserable but dutiful people of God.
Jesus is the answer to the human search for happiness.
Has your church lost its thirst for happiness and joy? There are so many things we are encouraged to do as a church today, so many problems we are challenged to solve, so many needs we are called to address. . . . But don’t let your church forget what it is meant to be:
“Happy the people whose God is the Lord!”
Psalm 144:15 RSV
If the world is searching for happiness, will they find it in church? If your non-Christian friend said to you, “I need more happiness in my life,” would you invite him or her to your church? God has called the church into being—not to make people happy, but to promote His own glory. We who come and lift up the name of Jesus are saved by His grace and caught up in His glory, and we become unashamedly, fully, totally, profoundly happy. Do you cultivate that happiness? Does your church encourage and promote that joy? Or do you hide it?
God pours out blessing after blessing on His people. Your church is a repository of divine blessings. The things you do at church are happy things, so the only question is whether you are allowing them to shape your own attitude and perspective. When you read and study God’s Word, does it satisfy your soul and increase your joy? When you sing, can you hear the glad worship in heaven? Every meal is a foretaste of the feast of God. Every laugh is an emblem of God’s overcoming victories. It is a crime to share the news of eternal life won by Jesus Christ without a little joy, and maybe even a smile. It is easy to be a sour and lifeless people. It takes courage to laugh, it takes faith to pursue joy, and it is a godly challenge to be a glad community.
The “nations” should look at the people of God and see a people of gladness (Psalms 126:2). But the church today has a different reputation. I don’t often hear the cultural commentators of our age expressing wonder at the supernatural happiness of the church. The world needs to see the joy of the people of God, so that many may come to learn the eternal satisfaction of a life given over to Jesus Christ.
Your church already has the tools for joy. Celebrate your church for what it already is—a beautiful community established by the Spirit of God to relish His blessings, worship His name and bear witness to a hurting world that the answers it seeks are here. The very best gift we can give the world is a community reflecting the light of heaven. It’s okay to be happy. It might even be right.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.