In western society everybody lives for the pursuit of happiness; men crave no hassles and women crave fashion and friends. Even the Declaration of Independence states that every person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Underneath all our goals and ambitions is the desire to feel happy. We do everything for this feeling and we do everything to avoid the bad feelings; no one wants to feel sad, worthless, or inferior. We all want to feel happy and we believe it’s our right.
Is this God’s perspective or man’s?
Humans try to find happiness through a spouse and kids, through sport, occupation, education, skills, friends, retail therapy, tv, money, travel, cars, hobbies, sex, through achieving some sort of importance etc. and if they can’t find enough of it they turn to drugs, food, alcohol, pets and sexual perversion to dull the pain, or simply somehow block their feelings so they feel no hurt pain.
There’s a popular song that says that ‘happiness is the truth’. It declares that happiness is the solution to all of life’s problems, and it’s popular because it’s inclusive for everyone; no one should be exempt from being happy … everybody’s into the drug of happiness.
I deserve to be happy because my parents and siblings made me feel unhappy
I was counselling a woman who shared that because her childhood was so unhappy, she had set her goal to be happy as an adult. No one was going to ever stop her having happiness. Nothing was ever going to make her unhappy again. She was going to act happy, be happy and expect happiness from family, people and God, and if they didn’t give it to her then she had the right to put them in their place. Anybody that made her unhappy was wrong, bad and her enemy; and anybody that made her happy was good and her friend. She fantasized that she was a princess and everything was diagnosed on the basis of what made her happy, and she learnt to block out those emotions that made her feel unhappy so she had no pain.
She hated Samuel’s mother, Hannah, because she was more loved than Peninnah, even though Hannah was barren, and she set her heart to be a Ruth because despite her pain in life, she got the love of Boaz. This is a very selfish wounded spirit, yet believes she’s a Christian.
She believed that if God was her father as he declared, then He was responsible to make her feel happy, so, of course He would give her whatever she wanted and needed. I’ve seen this person in the church many times over.
The problem was, her whole goal was selfish; it had nothing to do with the will of God, and it had nothing to do with the love of God; it was all about the love of ME. It was all built on her wounded pride and her grief at not getting what she believed she deserved. On the outside she looked very together, but on the inside, whenever she saw people that appeared happy she would despise them and even set her course to destroy their happiness because she didn’t have it.
In James 3:14-16, the Word of God describes this kind of behaviour as demonic, because it’s lying, bitter, envious, earthly, sensual and devilish.
Happiness seems like it’s of God, and the word ‘happy’ is used throughout the scriptures, but it’s an English word that’s been incorrectly placed in our modern versions.
The origin of ‘happy’
‘Happy’ comes from the Old English word ‘hap’ which means someone who’s had good luck. The world’s promoted the feeling that if you’re lucky, you’ll be happy, and that’s what we’re all chasing. We all want to get the good luck and the feeling.
In the Bible however, both the Hebrew word ‘esher’ and the Geek words ‘makarizo’ and ‘makarios’ have been interpreted as ‘happy’, incorrectly. The truth is, you won’t find the word ‘happy’ in the bible. The real meaning of these words is ‘blessed’.
‘Blessed’ isn’t what you’ve been trained to think it is. We all think it’s getting something from God and getting the good deal. However, In the scriptures this word ‘blessed’ actually means ‘indwelt by God and thus fully satisfied’ [ref. #3106, #3107 Lexical aides in the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, KJV]. This word relates only to those who are saved vessels. In other words, it’s only genuine Christians that can ever find true happiness; though the world will try and trick you otherwise. A genuine Christian never chases happiness nor seeks the feelings of happy. They are indwelt by God and that’s all that counts. Thus, it doesn’t affect their inner core mood if they have things work out or not. They don’t base life on what they have or have not got. They don’t envy their neighbour because of what he has and they don’t laugh at their neighbour because of what he doesn’t have. Their outward emotions are based on the inner confidence that the Spirit of God dwells within.
Happy is a state of the heart, not a state of the emotions
The beatitudes in Matthew 5 clearly spell out that inner ‘happy’ only flows from being poor, being sad, being meek, being merciful, being pure, being a peace-maker and being persecuted for righteousness. In fact, in verse 12, the greatest level of happiness and the highest level of reward are found through persecution, not through fun and frivolity.
In John 13:17, happiness is the fruit of being a servant and washing people’s dirty feet. In Proverbs 29:18 … ‘happy is he that keeps the ten commandments of God.’ In Psalm 128:1,2 … happiness is the fruit of fearing the Lord. These happinesses are all because one is saved by grace through faith, not because it’s one’s right or motive, and not because one keeps the ten commandments or washes people’s feet. It’s not the act that makes you happy; it’s what’s in you that stirs you to the act.
Is it wrong to be happy?
Of course not, but if that is what you’re chasing them it’s of Satan and you’ve been conned. Genuine happiness can only come as the consequence of a relationship with the Spirit of God; every other means is fake and deception.
Of course God designed everyone to be happy, but Satan stole that right from us, and although the churches teach you that happiness is part of the package you deserve when you become a Christian, the right to happiness will not flow to you until you’re saved. You need to realise that if you’re chasing happiness as your right, then you haven’t found God, and you’re not saved; you’ve just been conned by Satan. Genuine Christians don’t tell God what their rights are; they’re dead to themselves and alive to His will and purpose, and that’s their source of happiness.
A lot of people simply go to church because they’re looking for something to make them happy. We’ve all been told that church is supposed to be happy, but that’s because the church is not the church. You’ll only find the real church when it’s suffering the flames of persecution, and in western society, the church is going all out to make sure it adapts to the world’s wishes and attitudes so it never suffers persecution. Therefore, its projected aura of happiness is a sales pitch for more numbers and money; it’s not God.
Happiness built on sand
You either have happiness built on sand where you live for yourself to be happy and serve God with the expectation of Him giving it to you, or you have happiness built on the rock where your happiness is simply in the privilege of serving Him without any expectation of reward or benefit.
Eventually, people chasing ‘happy’ will expose what spirit they’re really of by controlling you for their own happiness. If you want to be happy the world’s way, you will have to control your environment to get it. Thus a fake happy will intimidate, blame, lie, be generous or whatever, to retain their position so they keep their feeling of happy.
The woman I was counselling fantasized, in her belief system, that she was a princess and was very special to God and thus had the right and position to tell everyone what to do and to question and challenge anyone who made her feel unhappy; plus, being a princess obviously meant that she should never be a maid or servant because that would degrade her position of importance. Until she comes to her senses and repents she’ll never be able to wash people’s feet (even if she does the act) and thus she’ll never be indwelt by Holy Spirit, and thus she’ll never be satisfied and thus she’ll never find happiness. Like a mirage, it will always escape her.
You have to be dead to yourself to be happy; anything else is self-deception and a lie.
May God touch your spirit to repent so He can indwell your dead spirit and bring it to life.
Pastor Keith Raymond