Nearly 8,000 verses of the Bible deal, either directly or indirectly, with happiness. That is over 25% of all the Scriptures. I would never have guessed it, given the picture of being a Christian we are often required to focus on.
Somehow being happy doesn’t seem to be a spiritual enough goal, or even spiritual at all. All through the Bible and especially in the New Testament the word “blessed” is used. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) he gives us the “Beatitudes,” (Matt. 5:3-12) each one starting with “blessed.” But really that word actually means “happy.” But even the Bible translators thought such a word didn’t seem solemn or sacred enough. Perhaps it would lead to hedonism.
Because we allowed religious culture to color the meaning, we have missed, at least I have missed, a simple fact, that Jesus wants me to be happy. Now, he clearly advises that there are routes to happiness that are wise and genuine, and routes that are deceptive, counterfeit and lead to death. But the routes to happiness are actually meant for our happiness.
It is true that in such a world as we live where the Bible says, “…the whole creation groans” (Rom. 8:22), it is not likely that we will be happy all the time. But clearly, if 8,000 verses touch on it, we might be out of balance in the other direction. Such a truth brings lightness to my soul. It makes sense, when Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30), or when he says in a parable, “enter into your Master’s joy” (Matt. 25:21,23).
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
Many people without Christ, quietly and without words, ask of Christians, “Does your faith give you victory over your own flesh and does it produce happiness?” These seem like fair questions. Do you have a faith where happiness is a big chunk of it? Or is it burdensome, heavy and steeped with obligation? Do you feel like you have permission to make happiness a righteous pursuit? I’m slow in coming, but I am getting there.
The Biblical Definition of Happiness by the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics
The Psychology of Happiness by Christianity Today
Historic Christian Quotes on Happiness by Faithlife.com
Growing in Grace by Cody Whittington