Does God Want Us to Be Happy?
Many women today believe that God wants them to be happy. I receive a lot of comments on my blog to this effect. They believe that if they are not happy in a marriage, they should get out of it. If they aren’t happy being home full time, they need to seek a career. If they aren’t happy having one or two children, they should have no more.
If God only cared about our happiness in marriage, why did He have the Apostle Paul write 1 Peter 3:1, 2 which commands those wives who are married to disobedient husbands to live in subjection to them with godly behavior? Surely if God wants wives to be happy in marriage, He would tell them that if they aren’t happy, then they can leave, right?
Women will divorce their husbands to try and find “freedom.” Is there freedom in divorce? Is it freedom to have the children part-time, maybe have to go to work full time, sleep alone, raise children alone, and have the children suffer because they miss seeing their dad on a full-time basis? Does a divorce really make for happiness?
If God only cared about a woman’s happiness in what she was doing with her life, why would He command that they be “keepers at home” and warn them against these things: “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not” (1 Timothy 5:13).
Does scurrying around in the morning trying to get everyone ready on time bring happiness? Does a morning commute, working the same nine to five job every day for a paycheck, arriving home exhausted, then trying to be a mother and wife for a few hours at night bring happiness to women?
If God only cared about a woman’s happiness if it depended upon how few children she had, why is this verse in the Bible? “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:5). God commands young women to “marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Timothy 5:14) and even tells us that women will be “saved in childbearing” (1 Timothy 2:15). Being help meets to our husbands, raising children, and being keepers at home is God’s ordained ministry for women. He seems to believe that having many children is a great thing and can even make people happy!
Women who base their happiness on their emotions, feelings, circumstances, and what they want to do will never find true and lasting happiness. Living one’s life this way is a recipe for unhappiness. There are more women today on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers than ever before. The rates of depression have skyrocketed among women even though they have everything they thought would bring them happiness.
There are no verses about seeking happiness in the temporary things of this world. Look at the life of the Apostle Paul and all of the other apostles who lived lives of self-denial and self-sacrifice in order to please their Savior and tell others about Him. God isn’t concerned about our worldly happiness. He’s concerned about our obedience because He knows that true joy and even happiness can only come when we know who we are in Christ and obey His commands. Happiness is a result of knowing that God is the Lord and doing His will.
The bottom line is that happiness is a choice we make that doesn’t depend upon our circumstances and the way we want life to go. As believers in Jesus Christ, we want to walk in obedience to the Lord because He’s our Creator and knows what’s best for us. This may even cause suffering in our lives but we learn a lot through sufferings. “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience..” (Romans 5:3). Trials make us more like Him but in the midst of our trials and sufferings, we can still have joy since we know how it all ends!
Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.
11 thoughts on “Does God Want Us to Be Happy?”
What we’re really saying is “I want to be happy.” This is understandable, but we shouldn’t place our desires in the place of God and imagine our emotions to contain some moral authority.
Great post, Lori.
Virtue is it’s own reward, and combined with wisdom, brings delight that never dies.
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness — these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”
“[T]here is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists . . . an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.”
Great article Lori! Yes to all of this!! Thank you for being bold and writing the truth found in God’s Word.
I have no doubt that if we all; every man, woman and child were willingly and joyfully obedient to the word of God in our lives and we lived in a society which was similarly Godly then we would happy.
But as we do not, then our duty is to follow his word above all else and look forward to happiness to come.
It is NOT for us to pervert our lives and go against his word in pursuit of an illusion of personal happiness. As women we are called to submit our selves to our husband in marriage, to submit our soul to Christ and our womb to the gift of life. Even if that is sometimes hard and against our personal wishes.
I think what trips women up is the belief that they have to have what they want in order to be happy, and they must have it immediately. When my kids were small, they thought they wanted that whole carton of ice cream; they were sure it would make them happy to eat that whole thing! But I knew it would make them feel sick, so they only got a small amount at the appropriate time. Women get focused on short-term pleasure like some extra money. But that career has long-term consequences that lead to long-term problems. God knew us humans would want to please our flesh; that’s why he gave us His commandments and His promises. Does He want us to be happy? Well, he doesn’t want us to have a belly-ache from too much overindulgence. I believe (just an opinion!) that God wants us to be content; to find our joy in Him and not in the things of this world.
The happiest people I know are the ones who are truly serving the Lord. Happiness, an inner, deep happiness and serenity no matter their situation, radiates from them.
I need medication in order to be a good mum and wife. I have severe, clinical depression. I love God with a passion. I am sure that He would not disapprove. I struggle constantly with happiness.
I love this post because it highlights such an important point in life: If you search for happiness, you will come up empty. If you search for meaning in life, what you can contribute to the world, you will find happiness.
We should also remember people like Jeremiah and Job, who feared the Lord yet were unhappy. It’s dangerous to measure our spiritual health by our emotions alone.
Yes, God does want your happiness. Philippians 4:8-13 points out the road that leads to it. 1 Samuel 15:23 points down the road that leads in the opposite direction. We come to this intersection several times each day. Which turn to make is your choice (and mine) every time.
Of course! But that’s not what I meant. I never suggested to measure our spiritual health by our emotions.
What I meant is, those who are truly serving the Lord have an inner serenity DESPITE their circumstances and despite being unhappy.
A personal example: During the worst time of my life, when I very worried, very stressed, frightened, upset etc. I felt God’s peace upon me. I don’t even think I can describe it, but if you’ve felt it too, you will know what I mean.
My circumstances didn’t change, my emotions didn’t change. But God was with me through it all, giving me peace and calm happiness deep inside.
A preacher from our church once said that was like God sending one of His angels to help us. The way I felt, was because of one of His angels.
It’s like when someone who loves God dies of cancer. You see them wasting away, growing weaker and weaker, in pain, suffering. Yet that glow from their hearts, from God, is clear.
This is what I was meaning. Not that if we’re unhappy we’re spiritually sick.