“as long as it makes you happy…”

“as long as it makes you happy…”

This is a term I have heard a lot recently from friends and family who truly mean well and wish the best for whatever my future entails.

But something about that statement doesn’t sit well with me. In actual fact, when making major decisions I rarely take “happiness” into consideration. To me what matters is “Am I doing this right? Am I honouring God? Is this glorifying to God?” and if it makes me happy as well then that’s a great bonus – Thank you Jesus! 😉

Happiness is an emotion – “the state of being happy” (feeling or showing pleasure or contentment). I don’t know about you but my emotions are always fluctuating; and occasionally hormones play a role in dictating my emotions as well. Therefore ultimately, am I even in control of my emotions? Do you now see why it is unhealthy and ultimately detrimental if we place “happiness” as our goal when making important decisions, or worse, in life? Because that goal will continue to shift and change position.

I love being happy – happy is fun. But I believe that happiness is a cheap trade for joy.

Theopedia describes joy as:

“a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness.”

Can you see how joy is more stable, more confident, and more reliable than happiness? Its not a state of feeling but a settled/stable/strong state of mind – which can provide happiness too.

  • Will God ever ask me to do something that doesn’t make me happy? Yes
  • Is it possible that certain decisions which honour God and glorify Him will not make me happy? Yup
  • Will God ever ask me to do something that does make me happy? Yeah
  • Is it possible that certain decisions which honour God and glorify Him will make me happy? Yaaaa

Awesome – I hope that settles the matter.

Happiness is great! Jesus loves to have a good time; but happiness is not my goal in life and I doubt it was His either. I would like to think:

“If I do not feel happy but I’m in God’s will, then there’s no better place for me to be.”

It’s also important to note that this confidence comes from trusting God when He said that He knows the plans He has for me, and that they are good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11); plus that He would cause all things to work together for my good (Romans 8:28). Therefore please note that this confidence isn’t because I’m a “super christian” or “super spiritual” – but simply that I have surrendered my life to Him. My life doesn’t belong to me anymore but I believe that God will do great things with it because He is love; He’s also adventurous and creative. Basically my life is in safe hands! Lol.

Back to the matter – there is joy in the midst of suffering. Nehemiah (8:10) in the bible said “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” It’s key to note that he said this during a time where the law long forgotten and long broken by the captives, is now to be reestablished again amongst the children of Israel. Who here knows that the law is not fun? The law definitely wouldn’t make me “happy” – so quite literally, the people began to weep! (v9). Not only was it not fun, but it also highlighted the error in their ways and how much they had really abandoned God. Long story short – Nehemiah declares to them that the joy of The Lord would be their strength.

Do you see? As described above – Joy is a source, and here it is a source of strength. Strength to honour God; to follow His commands; to be integral; to make the right decision even when it doesn’t make you happy. To say no to that boy or girl; to say no to that slice of cake to momentarily fill the void in your heart; to say no to one more glass of wine to numb the pain; and to say no to that new job prospect even though it pays more because God said “waiitt, this is not it”. These things do not feel good at the time, nor are they comfortable – but we must trust that God knows best and that He has better for us in the long-run.

Because of joy, you and I are now redeemed.

Let that really sink in. Joy empowered Jesus to fulfil His purpose and reconcile us to Himself and The Father – not happiness. When you are being nailed to a cross “as long as it makes you happy…” is completely irrelevant.

Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.
(Heb 12:1-2)

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