But God Wants Me to be Happy!!"
What is the happiness that God wants us to have? To a lot of people in this
world happiness is defined in terms of having every desire fulfilled. Is that
the happiness God wants us to have? There are people who would define happiness
as a life of wealth, pleasure and constant fun. Is this how God defines
happiness? God wants us to be happy, but I believe God has His definition of
happiness and it may not be the same as ours.
On various occasions, when people are on the move, away from God, you'll hear them say:
"But God wants me to be happy!!"
Here is a man who is drunk more than he is sober. He has lost several jobs, destroyed his family, has no credibility with anybody but the bartender. And as he sinks lower and lower into decadence - you can hear him say, "God wants me to be happy."
Or, here is a woman who shuns her responsibility as a mother and wife; she throws herself into worldly success, runs off with another man; and as she pursues this new life somebody approaches her who cares - and her response is: "But God wants me to be happy."
A young Christian - your parents have brought you up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and you've had every advantage to know the Lord and discern between right and wrong. Yet, in spite of the advantages and the warnings you let yourself become vulnerable to the sexual immorality that is so constant in our society. Caught up in inordinate sexual activity - you become pregnant, or you get someone pregnant ... And are you going to say -- that God wants you to have this kind of happiness?
Well, of course God wants us to be happy. But what does that mean? What does He Mean? What kind of happiness does God have in mind for me? And isn't it true: God's concept of human happiness is not the same as the world's concept of happiness?
The God of the Scriptures is a holy God, terrifying in greatness ... utterly awesome in wisdom ... who transcends human understanding - and is unknowable, except by divine revelation.
Our problem is - the tendency to reduce this God of glory to more manageable proportions; we trivialize God, and make Him into our own image. We want to re-fashion God, to make Him fit our expectations and serve our desires. We want to invent our own projects for our purposes, and then sign God on as a junior partner.
We have lost a sense of awe before God. We want to do whatever we want to do, and then call upon God to help us ... to justify us and serve us, and make us happy.
So, we imprison God within the structure we have built for Him -- we live however we want to live, then when we are confronted with some portion of truth or law or some rebuke to awaken us our reply is, "Well, God wants me to be happy!" Well, God wants us to be happy, but the happiness he desires for us is spiritual, and it is based on holiness, not the flesh.
Yes -- God wants us to be happy (See Eccl. 2:24; 3:12-13,22; 5:18-19; 9:9; 1 Pet. 3:10; 3 Jno. 2). There is no debate about this - God wants us to enjoy life here on earth, and be happy. He wants us to live joyfully, to see good days, and enjoy the rewards of our labor. But -- if we really want to pay attention to what God wants, let's observe this -- Not only does God want me to be happy, He also wants me to be holy!! (2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 1:3-4; Heb. 12:10; 1 Pet. 1:15,16; 1 Pet. 2:5,9; 2 Pet. 3:11).
And, we can do it! We can be happy (as defined by God), and at the same time we can be holy (as defined by God.) If we take our definitions and concepts and values from God - regarding both happiness and holiness, it is possible to be happy and holy at the same time.
God does not want us to be "happy" if it involves sin, false doctrine, causing another to stumble, fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, or the pursuit of personal lusts. Real happiness is a product of being right with God (1 Pet. 3:8-12).
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 4.6; June 1997