Job 5:17-18 "Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. "For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.
But does God really want me to be happy? I have heard it many times over the past several months that "God doesn't want you to be happy, He wants you to be Holy." I heard it again just recently and it caused me to ask myself one question. "Are happiness and holiness exclusive of one another?" My short answer is, no! Actually, unequivocally NO! I believe that scripture clearly shows that true holiness creates joy, and pure joy is very often expressed through happiness. When we pursue God and His righteousness and our life is to glorify Him in all things, then we are authentically happy. Holy and happy are not an either/or but an and/both.
I think to see that it is ok for me to be happy, I must first realize that God himself is happy. For years I thought of God as being like an ancient Puritan sitting in the clouds looking down on all of His creation in a somber Holiness. Kind of like the stoic's of old, He would sit there and endure the pain and torment that was taking place here on earth. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
God is the creator of happiness and joy. He delights in His creation and finds great joy in His children. (Happiness can be defined by many words: Joy, delight, good pleasure, happy, gladness, rejoice etc...)
Zep 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Joh 15:11 These things I have spoken to you,
that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Jesus, in John 15:11 says "these things I have spoken to you." What things is He referring to that should bring us great joy? Jesus is referring to our abiding in Him. Our fruitfulness, our obedience, our perseverance, our pursuit of holiness. In addition we should find overflowing joy when we experience His love that He pours out on us. These things will produce His joy in us. We will be so filled with it that it spills over the sides and all over the people we come into contact with each day. When we are pursuing holiness and we abide in Jesus, then the outward expression in even some of the most difficult trials will be a genuine happiness.
"I do not know when I am more perfectly happy than when I am weeping for sin at the foot of the cross." - Spurgeon
"There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other." - Augustine
This post can only scratch the surface on the topic of holiness and happiness. I believe God does desire for us to be happy when we are in hot pursuit of Him. I also believe that happiness is not a direct opposite of holiness as some well intended Christians may say. But happiness is a genuine byproduct of a holiness rooted deeply in Christ.
I would love to hear your thoughts?