Jesus doesn’t want you to be happy. Now, before you leave this blog, give me a chance to explain. We all heard about the “pursuit of happiness”. We have heard about people doing almost everything just to be happy. Most people would even make this as their ultimate goal. However, is there something wrong with this type of thinking?
Jesus Christ said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full“ (John 15:11). Did you notice that? Instead of happiness, Jesus chose the word JOY. A three-letter word that can make a tremendous difference in your life!
Why not happiness?
Take a concordance and make a quick search. Using King James Version, the word “joy” and “rejoice” (the verb form of joy) is mentioned 37 times in the four synoptic gospels. Compare that to the word “happy” which is only mentioned once. Clearly, Jesus is making a point here!
The root word of happy is “hap”, meaning chance. It carries the sense of being fortunate or lucky. This is where we also get the words happen, haphazard, hapless, and happenstance. So we see here that being happy is greatly dependent on the things happening outside of us. Happiness originates from our circumstances.
Happiness is an emotional state. Jesus does not expect us to be always happy. In fact, Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”. Jesus Christ, Himself, wept (John 11:35).
Happiness is a glad feeling the strongly depends upon the good things that are happening. People who pursue happiness seek pleasure to satisfy their senses. In most cases, instead of finding joy, they only end up with happiness that is just short-lived and does not last very long.
From happiness to Joy
Without a doubt, Jesus Christ wants us to be joyful rather than just being happy. Being filled with the right kind of joy – the type of joy mentioned in the Bible – is what makes us truly blessed and glad.
Joy comes from within us. It is not dependent upon our circumstances. Joy is the foundation of other healthy emotions including happiness. Joy will lead to contentment, gratitude, optimism, peace, and other positive attitudes.
How to be joyful?
There are different ways you can experience and internalize joy in your life. Here are some of them:
- Rejoice in trials – James 1:2 tells us to rejoice in trials. This might be completely against our human nature, but it is truly a reason to be joyful. James states the reason that we must be joyful in trials because “the testing of your faith produces patience”.
- Give rather than get – one common mistake is to think that getting something can make you happy. This is true in just a superficial sense because if you depend your happiness on the things you have, you will soon end up being sad. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit – one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22). If you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, you will experience lasting and genuine joy. To do this, you must first repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38).
The commandment to be joyful
Being joyful is not optional. It is mandatory. It is not just a request, but it is a command. Jesus Christ commanded His followers to “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12).
The Apostle Paul empathically commanded us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, REJOICE!” (Philippians 4:4). There are numerous passages that commanded us to be joyful. These include Romans 12:12, James 1:2, I Peter 1:8, and I Thessalonians 5:16.
So you now see why Jesus won’t like you to be happy? Simply because He wants you to attain a greater level of gladness and that is joy. Being happy is temporary, but joy is long-lasting. We can never be always happy, but we can always be joyful.
How about you? What are the things that make you happy or joyful? Which ones last longer? Express your thoughts by leaving a comment below. If you find this blog helpful, please share it to your friends. J