Summary: God is not concerned with His children's happiness. He is concerned with their joy. Happiness is fleeting, joy is eternal.
Bubba walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had.
Bubba said, "Shingles." So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat. Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aide came out and asked Bubba what he had.
Bubba said, "Shingles." So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told Bubba to wait in the examining room. A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Bubba what he had.
Bubba said, "Shingles." So the nurse gave Bubba a blood test, a checked his blood pressure, did an electrocardiogram, and told Bubba to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor. An hour later the doctor came in and found Bubba sitting patiently in the nude and asked Bubba what he had.
Bubba said, "Shingles."
The doctor asked, "Where?"
Bubba said, "Outside on the truck. Where do you want me to unload 'em?"
I can promise you Bubba was not a happy camper.
Nobody I know would end the day happy after a day like that.
Which leads me to beg the question, Do you think on an average day you end the day happy?
Are you happy?
As a Christian is this something that you should be striving for?
Let's talk about that for a little bit.
Let me start by telling you that one of the big misconceptions of Christianity is that God wants us to be happy.
Did you know that there is actually nowhere in Scripture where God promises us happiness or tells us to be happy?
You can look, but it's not there.
Happiness is not something that is promised to us in the Bible.
And I want that to sink in for a minute.
God is not concerned with your happiness.
And right now you're thinking, “this must be one of those times he's going to turn things around and trick us.”
It's not. It's the gospel truth that God is not in the happiness business.
And I know that sounds harsh, but the reason that it sounds so mean is that we don't understand the definition of happiness.
Happiness can be defined as an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure.
Well that sounds like something God might want for His kids, right.
But here is the kicker.
Happiness is caused by external events.
You hear me, happiness is caused by external events.
You become happy based upon what is going on around you.
Hitting the lottery makes you happy, having a new car makes you happy, winning an award makes you happy...
Getting a present, having someone say “I love you,” watching tv on your giant television...these things bring happiness.
You see happiness is caused by events or situations or feelings.
Happiness is based upon what is happening to you at that moment in time.
If things are going well, then you are happy.
But since happiness is based upon external events, when things are going poorly then unhappiness sets in.
Happiness is dependent upon the lack of struggles in one's life.
And this is why God doesn't promise happiness, and why He doesn't even ask us to be happy.
Because most of the time, the life of a Christian is not one that would bring tons of happiness.
We are constantly faced with external events or things that have the potential to cause distress and unhappiness in our lives.
We are up against sin and sickness and bills and death and cars breaking down and a thousand other things that make life difficult.
And if God were to promise us happiness, then it would mean that He was promising us a life free from any sort of trial or trouble.
And of course He's not going to promise this to us, He didn't even give this kind of life to his own son.
So know that God is not concerned with your happiness.
Wow, there's an uplifting message for you, but don't worry it's not over because there is something that God is concerned with.
Something that God wants to provide for us and that He wants us to have.
Because although happiness isn't found in Scripture, there is another word that is used quite often and that was found in our Scripture today...and that word is joy.
And Jesus in this section of Scripture tells us that he wants us to have his joy in us.
He says in verse 11, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
God wants us to experience joy, and for us to be joyful.
And no, happiness and joy are not the same thing, they are definitely similar but they have some huge differences.