Is God Opposed to Happiness?
Most people believe there are ultimately two ways to live: a happy life or a religious life. The average unbeliever sees God as a cosmic killjoy, one who comes to dethrone their joy and to replace it with an upright and uptight morality. To paraphrase, some believe that Christians are afraid that somewhere, someone may be happy.
The question we must ask ourselves is this: is God opposed to joy and happiness? Is the Christian life supposed to be a grumbling, anti-happiness quest? Or is it possible that the Christian life is the happy life?
The Happy God
In 1 Timothy 1:11 (ESV) Paul says that right doctrine must be “in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” Paul calls the God of the Scriptures the blessed God, or literally, the happy God.
The God of the Bible is the happiest God because He can do all that He pleases (Psalm 115:3). He is holy, righteous, good, perfect, and loves God as supreme. God infinitely delights in that which is infinitely satisfying, namely, Himself.
The Well That Never Runs Dry
So, what does God desire us to be happy and satisfied in? God! The greatest demonstration of God’s goodness is that He commands His creatures not to be happy in lesser things but to be satisfied in Him.
It would be unloving if God didn’t command us to seek that which is most delightful. It is thus a great evil to reject the fountain of living water and to dig a well that runs dry (cf. Jeremiah 2:13). God is the life-giving well that never runs dry. Jesus Christ is the water that fully satisfies and happifies all who would plunge and drink of Him (John 7:38; see also John 4:13-14).
Jesus Came for Abundant Life
The Son of God came into the world to give eternal life and to give His sheep real, lasting life. In John 10:10, ESV, it says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus is not opposed to joy. He instead desires to redirect our affections to true joy.
Conversion is not being forced to love what we hate. True conversion is the granting of new Godward affections.
God is not opposed to our joy, He desires our joy to be in Him as the true and lasting joy that endures into eternity.
Psalm 37:4, ESV, commands us to “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” because the Lord is now your desire. Sin is a hollow joy, a cheap joy, an empty joy.
Sin is like seeing the mirage of water and drinking it to only have a mouth full of sand. True, abundant life is found in knowing, treasuring, and loving Jesus Christ.
As John Piper famously helps us to understand, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”