Q: #118. Does God want us to be happy?
By: Steve Shirley
A: Sure He does, however, the Bible places much more importance on having joy. When we believe in Jesus, we are filled with joy and peace (Rom 15:13). Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Eph 5:22)(1 Th 1:6). There is unspeakable (inexpressible) joy in Christ (1 Pet 1:8). There is fullness of joy in God's presence (Ps 16:11). Joy is described as everlasting (Isa 51:11)(Isa 35:10). (Neh 8:10) says, "for the joy of the Lord is your strength." One of Satan's main objectives is to steal our joy, because when He does this, He steals our strength.
People who are not Christians, and actually some that may be Christians, are seeking happiness in the things of this "world" (I was one of them), when they should be seeking joy. We may find happiness for a short time in the things of this world, but the happiness won't last. In addition, if we are seeking happiness in sinful things, the Bible says it will only last for a season (Heb 11:25).
While the Bible does focus more on having joy (mentioned 205 times), it does speak about those who are happy as well (only 29 times). It is interesting to note, however, in studying the "happy" verses, that only about half of them speak on how to be happy, and they all equate happiness with obeying the Lord in some way.
(Ps 128:1-2) says we will be happy if we fear the Lord and walk in His ways.
(Prov 3:13,18) says we will be happy if we find wisdom. (Fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10)(Ps 111:10).)
(Prov 14:21) says we will be happy if we have mercy on the poor.
(Prov 16:20) says we will be happy if we trust in the Lord.
(Prov 28:14) says we will be happy if we fear the Lord always.
(Prov 29:18) says we will be happy if we keep God's law.
(Jn 13:17) says we will be happy if we follow Jesus' example.
(Rom 14:22) says we will be happy if we do not condemn ourselves by what we approve of.
(James 5:11) says we will be happy if we endure.
(1 Pet 3:14) says we will be happy if we suffer for righteousness.
(1 Pet 4:14) says we will be happy if we are reproached (reviled) for the name of Christ.
So... yes, God does want us to be happy, but He wants our happiness to be tied TOTALLY to Him. The Bible says if we obey God's commandments (Jn 15:11), pray in Jesus' name (Jn 16:24), and are in fellowship with the Father and Jesus Christ (1 Jn 1:4), our joy will be full. In addition, we will be happy if we follow the verses listed above.
We will become unhappy if we blame God for not giving us things tied to this world to make us happy (i.e. money, health, a spouse, etc...). God may indeed give us these things, but if we can't be happy without them, then we are looking in the wrong place for our happiness.