When you think of God do you imagine Him as happy? Many believers struggle with this idea of divine happiness because they see God through the lens of His anger toward sin. Author, theologian, and founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries, Randy Alcorn, provides believers with biblical truth and insight supporting the fact that God commands happiness and wants believers to be happy in his new book succinctly titled, Happiness. The book spends time debunking the myth that enjoying a happy personality is not what God intended for our lives.
Through the writings of The Holy Scriptures the word “blessed” is used by the Apostle Paul to describe God’s holy demeanor. The Greek word Paul chose in his letter to Timothy is “makarios” meaning “pertaining to being happy.” Alcorn writes, “Paul doesn’t simply talk about the gospel; he refers to the ‘gospel of the glory of the happy God.’” Furthermore the book says that only in the letters to Timothy is this particular word used in reference to God, clearly showing that Paul is purposely doing something different by shaping God’s personality as makarios, happy.
Sadly it’s common in Christian circles to feel guilty or in some ways less-Christian for radiating this type of inner peace. Alcorn says, “Unfortunately, many believers are taught that God wants us to be holy but not happy, and that joy and happiness are fundamentally different.” The book encourages Christians that getting to know God’s personality will open them up to learning about “the happy God.” This in no way dismisses the reality that trials, hardship, and suffering are a part of the Christian walk, it just means we should walk in happiness on Earth and not wait until Heaven to experience it. God is happy and He wants us to be happy too! He even uses happiness to attract others to our lives in order to promote the Gospel.
Alcorn challenges the reader to put meaning to the sometimes empty phrase “spending time with God,” explaining that one of the best things they can do is cultivate a daily God-consciousness. Hearing from The Lord with a conscious awareness of His presence in times of prayer, during a meal, or in moments of solitude will bring life to the soul and draw us nearer to Him. He also warns against the dangers of misinterpreting God’s delight in His children’s happiness for the false theology of the prosperity gospel saying, “The false gospel of health and wealth isn’t wrong because it values happiness. It’s wrong because it tries to obtain happiness in secondary things rather than in God, the primary.”
Happiness encourages believers to rise to the call of having true faith in a happy God. It shifts the paradigm from believing that joy is the only proper term for explaining biblical gladness. Accepting God’s happiness means we maintain a constant awareness of His presence and personality. It’s time for the church to stop being inhabited by sermons that suggest that happiness is superficial and sinful. Happiness is not a bad word and the Bible gives permission to enjoy it fully.