Are Christians allowed to be happy in this life? I mean – is God okay with Christians being happy? There is a lot of doom and gloom in the world. There is a lot of negativity towards Christians and the Christian worldview today (and throughout history). Maybe a better question is: how can Christians be happy on this side of eternity?
Dr. David Murray answers some of those questions in his new book The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World. If you would like to get a taste of The Happy Christian, consider the bundle of his companion books, with a little over 800 pages and a smaller price tag, A Bundle of Joy: Six Books On Christian Happiness.
I think there are a lot of unhappy Christians walking around and it affects our witness in our everyday lives. I know because I can be an unhappy Christian. I get it, but when I realize where I am I then fight for joy by getting myself out of Jesus’ way.
An unhappy, joyless attitude may reflect where we are with our affections for Jesus Christ. Consider an excerpt from A Bundle of Joy out of the chapter “Jesus Shares His Happiness.”
Why Are You So Happy?
When we come across a happy person, we ask them, “Why are you so happy?” and they’ll usually tell you about something that they just saw, heard, or thought about.
So what was there in the run up to John 17: 13 that made Jesus so happy that he spoke of “My joy”?
- The joy of God’s presence (v. 1).
- The joy of God’s sovereignty (2).
- The joy of God’s salvation (2, 8).
- The joy of knowing God (3).
- The joy of glorifying God on the earth (4).
- The joy of doing God’s work (4).
- The joy of God’s heavenly glory (5).
- The joy of communicating God’s Word (6, 8, 13, 14).
- The joy of God being obeyed (6).
- The joy of God’s election (9-10).
- The joy of God’s preservation (11-12).
This is a multi-dimensional, super-abundant, over-flowing spiritual happiness that Jesus identified in Himself, and was enjoying so much that He looked at His disciples and prayed, “Father, give them this too. Transfer my joy to them. Share my happiness with them.”
And perhaps even more amazingly, this is a prayer Jesus is still praying for His people. Every Christian’s every smile, joy, and pleasure, is an answer to this prayer. Every Christian who is dejected and depressed is being prayed for in this way by their great High Priest.1
I appreciate Dr. Murray’s work on this topic and believe it helpful to the body of Christ.
Are you a happy Christian? How does your joy in Christ affect your daily attitude?
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