Who Says God Wants You to Be Happy?

by Cathy Baker

God wants me to be happy. 

Six words – a belief system, if you will – that, at one point, plunged my life into the  proverbial place known as rock bottom. 

In the moment, it was blissful. Believing this lie—that God was more interested in my happiness than His holiness—eased my conscience, leading to sinful choices that continue to affect my family twenty-six years later. 

So, although this month’s series is on joy, today is also about happiness because many, such as myself, have at some point in life confused the two. And the end result is often costly: 

I’m leaving my spouse. He/she just doesn’t make me happy anymore. And, of course, God wants me to be happy.

Truth is: God designed marriage. God defined marriage. Our completeness is only achieved through a relationship with Him, not another person. That kind of burden will crush the other because they were never designed to carry it. However, when our purpose, our fulfillment, is grounded in Christ, joy feeds hope and hope gives flight to “all things possible.” God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16) Thankfully, He loves those of us who’ve experienced it but He hates the act, especially when He’s used as the excuse to do so.

I would be happier if I had a bigger house, a better car, {fill in the blank}. After all, God wants me to be happy. 

Truth is: There’s nothing wrong with a bigger, better house, car, or whatever — as long as we’re consumed by the Gospel rather than stuff. Joy, the eternal fragrance of Christ, will never linger upon temporal trinkets that simply rust and decay. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Col.3:2 

I wish I’d not fallen for the six-worded lie all those years ago. I wish I’d known Christ and His truth, but I didn’t. It was, however, through this rock-hard place in life that I came to experience the tenderness of God’s holiness and the joy of my salvation. The kind of joy that scales the most jagged of all circumstances and soars for an eternity.  

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

Made in Japan, from my collection.

Today was the original date set for the teacup drawing mentioned in last Monday’s post but due to Spring Break (something this empty
nester failed to remember!) I’m extending the drawing until Friday, April 10th. If you would like to be included in the drawing, please leave a comment here. Best of luck to you!

My Friday Fave: A Revised Target Plaque

Spotted by a delirious woman who was convinced she could dash into Target for just a few stocking stuffers on Black Friday — a plaque that read: One Way to Happiness Is To Follow Your Heart.

Back when I knew of God, but had no personal relationship with Jesus, [an eternal difference] I felt sure that God’s greatest desire for me was to be happy. It was only when I began growing in my knowledge of who God is and who He created me to be that I realized it wasn’t happiness He desired above all for me, but holiness. 

Be holy because I am holy. 1 Peter 1:16
I have the bumps and bruises to prove that following one’s own heart leads only to disappointment and destruction. Why? Because the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) It cannot—nor should it—ever be trusted. 
Being happy is a blessing from the Lord but the Word says that if we’re obedient in seeking His kingdom first and foremost, all else will follow — including a joy that plunges deeper and spreads wider than mere happiness could ever offer.  
If given the opportunity, my favorite plaque would read:  
True Joy Rests in Obedience to the Only Way 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6
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