Altar Call –
Forget about being
Does God want you to be happy?
No sir. No way.
God is love so surely he wants you to be happy.
happiness is not one of his goals for you.
look at all the wonderful songs we sing about being “happy.” There is the old
gospel song titled “O Happy Day.” And in the beautiful song, “His Eye is On the
Sparrow,” there is the memorable chorus, “I sing because I’m happy.” I will
admit those are good songs and I like them. But though such songs work against
my argument, I remain convinced that happiness is not what God wants for you.
me explain. The word “happy” has become a shallow, almost meaningless word. It
represents the “good feeling” that you can obtain from material things. Certain
cars, clothes, food, cosmetics and gadgets can make you “happy.”
kind of happiness has no lasting value. It is like a vapor, here one minute and
gone the next. A milkshake can make you happy for a moment but its sweet taste
is soon forgotten. A new Lincoln automobile can make you happy for a spell –
until you see a friend driving a sleek Cadillac. Suddenly you are unhappy with
every normal person you seek pleasure and enjoyment in life, yet the rewards of
both are fleeting. You may enjoy a sporting event – unless your team loses. You
may find a degree of pleasure in a movie or a play. You may find delight in a
trip to the mountains or the beach. Some experiences may give you a warm feeling
of gladness but it too will soon evaporate. What you long for, and what God
wants for you is what the Bible calls joy.
you might suppose the words joy and happiness are interchangeable, but happiness
is not a synonym for joy. Most dictionaries, for example, use other words than
happiness to define joy. Some of those words are gladness, delight, mirth and
helpful definition of joy is this: “Joy is a state of mind and an orientation
of the heart, a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.”
word joy appears in some translations of the Bible more than 300 times. The
word happy does appear in the Bible but only about 25 times.
the Bible means by joy can be learned by examining some of the scriptural uses
of the word. For example, Jesus said there is joy in heaven when one sinner
repents. The Apostle Peter said believers can experience “unspeakable joy.”
John said the scriptures were written so that the joy of believers could be
“full.” Paul explained that joy is a fruit of the Spirit.
joy is solid, dependable and enduring. It is much more than a laugh or a smile
created by something that brings you delight. But joy will make you smile and
if you have it inside, other people will know you have it. Your demeanor will
reveal it because it is a cheerfulness of your soul, your deep inner self.
is not temporary; it does not vanish overnight. It stays with you when times
are tough. Suffering cannot rob you of your joy. Joy strengthens your inner
being, providing you with the courage and fortitude to face adversity. Shallow
happiness offers no such help.
the sound of the words betrays their true meaning. “Happy” has a hollow ring to
it while “joy” has a strong, genuine sound. Speak both words aloud and you will
see what I mean.
is the ultimate source of joy. He told his disciples he wanted his joy to be
“in” them and for their joy to be complete. Once you get hold of this Jesus
kind of joy, you will want more. And you will not want to lose it.
obtain this joy by letting the Holy Spirit control your life. When the Spirit
is in control, the fruit of the Spirit is produced in you and one of those
fruits is joy. You cannot produce joy yourself; you can only receive it as the
Spirit of God releases it in your heart.
a child I was taught to sing this chorus, “If you want joy, real joy, let Jesus
come into your heart.” There is solid truth in that children’s song. When you
let Jesus take over your life, he fills your heart with his joy, a spiritual
joy like no other. Things can make you happy for a season but only Jesus can
give you lasting joy. He can take you beyond happiness to true joy.
about being happy. When you have the joy of the Lord, you have everything you
need – and you won’t miss the things that used to make you “happy.” + + +