Happiness can be a complicated emotion in the Christian community. Some people sell happiness as the end goal of the faith with prosperity gospel messaging; earthly happiness is available to those with enough faith, and who ask. On the other extreme, there are people who believe Christians should not strive for earthly happiness, but joy focused on the eternal.
The Bible supports a more moderate view of these emotions. God both blesses people with things on earth that can bring them happiness, but also keeps bringing the focus back to Himself, and the eternal things which bring lasting joy. Christians can pray for happiness and joy, pursuing heavenly things while finding happiness in the life that has been given them on earth
Can We Pray for Happiness?
When studying the Bible, there is a distinction that emerges between joy and happiness. A review of different translations of the Bible in English makes that evident.
The following is a list of translations and the number of times the word “joy” appears:
- English Standard : 203
- King James : 187
- Christian Standard : 236
- New International : 242
- New American Standard : 260
- Revised Standard : 255
The following is a list of those same translations and the number of times the word “happiness” appears:
- English Standard : 2
- King James : 0
- Christian Standard : 5
- New International : 6
- New American Standard : 5
- Revised Standard : 5
Even when accounting for discrepancies due to translating from Hebrew and Greek to English, the large difference in the number of times each word appears in the Bible is noteworthy. So what is the difference?
Generally, happiness is considered an outward expression of positive feelings associated with love, pleasant events, things going a person’s way, and other good things. Joy is a choice, focusing on the positive, having patience, and focusing on things greater than the presence regardless of circumstances. Joy comes from the intentional pursuit of a relationship with God and finding reasons to rejoice whether one is going through good times or bad times.
God is the source of joy, so joy in a Christian comes from righteousness, and the Fruits of the Spirit. Happiness can be driven by good feelings that are godly, but it can also come from sinful, carnal, and worldly sources. Someone can be happy to do something wrong, or from seeing someone they do not like suffer.
Being able to pray for happiness can help ensure that someone is finding their sources of happiness in God’s blessings and righteousness. These blessings can be as simple as a nice walk on a good day to the rejoicing of a newborn baby. Praying for happiness can be a request for a blessing, for finding happiness in God’s will, and for many other things
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
- gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
So in our Christian lives Joy is available which can produce happiness but life is not all full of joy and happiness. We will have our troubles and trials. Take heart God is in charge and as the Hymn “My Savior My God” says.
I am not skilled to understand, What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at his right hand Stands one who is my Savior
Where: 7th Day Adventist Church 3441 Gibbons Rd, Duncan
When: Sunday June 19, 2022
- 10:00 am Breaking of Bread
- 11:00 am Family Bible Hour
Speaker: Chet McArthur
Notes: Being the 1st Sunday of the Month we will be having the two offerings. The first is regular and the 2nd will go to the Building Fund.
Don’t forget that when Mark Andrade returns in two weeks he has asked us to read the book of Hebrews several times, in preparation for those two Sundays July 17th and 24th.
- I had high hopes we would be back in the chapel on July 10th but it appears our new seating will not arrive in time so more than likely it will be July 17th.
- However, the replacement organ is in place, and the carpeting has been finished.
- I have folks interested in the spare piano and the old fencing.
- Sound system being worked on but still not sure what we will have for our first Sunday.
- Art and Doug will be moving furniture in place beginning Saturday, so things are gradually getting taken care of.
- When we do get back the only ladies washroom available will be the handicapped one. The mens as usual. The main ladies washroom is off limits due to electrical work being done in there and in the hall.
- The contractor is working on the kitchen and fellowship hall as quickly as he can with the resources available. The chapel’s finances are holding steady with up to $30,000.00 of work that we may have to fund.
God’s blessings on you all.