“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
–Philippians 4:11 NASB
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,”
–Colossians 3:23 NASB
The pastor of the church once said, “God doesn’t want us to be happy. He wants us to be holy.” I’m starting to realize what he means. At first, I took it as a face value statement, which drove me into depression, believing that God only wants us to be miserable.However, scripture is starting to reveal that this doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve seen a few references in scripture where God has answered prayer, and yet people were still unhappy. So, my only conclusion, after seeing a few other references in scripture, is that happiness is something that is left up to us, and is not God’s responsibility. From my own experience, it seems like we put this responsibility on God because we don’t want to take it ourselves. In fact, it seems that we place this responsibility on everyone else but us. We sort of treat it as “if X then Y” where X is something external and Y is You (or me). What this means is that we won’t happen unless something else does. Quite often were quick to say “if such and such happens, then I’ll be happy” or whatever emotion, positive or negative, they care to inject into the logic
I’ve learned that relying on such “logic” was only leading me to further anger and depression. By depending on anybody or anything outside of me, including God, to make me happy, I was only leading myself to total discouragement. An example of this was when we were younger, I would say, “when things get better, we’ll have more children.” Well, I got to point where things were getting worse.. However, that was the point I turned around and said, “let’s have more children and make things better.” This gave me a new outlook on life. So, the only thing that I really wonder is what has really changed? Why would I give up the power to be happy, and place it in someone else’s control? Putting it back in my control is as simple as reversing the rule. That would mean, “if I am happy then… ” this will put the control back into my hands. In no way do I feel that this is ungodly or sinful.
The apostle Paul stated in the New Testament, “I learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in.” This takes discipline. There are many situations that can destroy us if we let it. How did he learn? If you tell me, “it can only come from God”, this is a superficial statement because everything comes from God. If you were to tell me that putting in a self-help CD, or reading a book is ungodly, then not only would I question the basis of your argument, but I would also question your sense of taking responsibility for your life. Not everything we read, sing, speak, or learn has to explicitly have Jesus written all over it. Everything we do, however, should be in praise of Jesus and all the God has done for us. This is something that is in our hands. Why would Jesus tell us, “do not be anxious”, “be of good cheer”, and “fear not”, if it were not? Otherwise, it wouldn’t be the free will that we believe God gave us. Sorry to disappoint you, but God just won’t do things to make us happy. He knows better. He knows that no matter what He does, we’d still be unhappy. And at the same time, He knows the opposite: we can be happy of our own choosing, leaving God to do real miracles. Our happiness is a choice, not a miracle. In fact, anything that is within our capabilities is not a miracle.
Leaving my emotions up to anyone else will just not happen as I would hope. It rarely does. I do believe however, that if I get happy, things will happen. Again, as Paul said, “I learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in.” To me, that’s proof right there that happiness is a choice and not a miracle. Thus, I am exercising the choice, whether it is reading a book, popping in a CD, or just picking up my guitar and writing a silly song. Perhaps, none of those things may mention Jesus in anyway, but that in no way means that I am not doing this for His glory, and nothing I do will come before Him.