What is Happiness? Is it really something we can have? What is it anyway? Is it having all of your circumstances finally line up? The perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect job... Or is it something that is a free git? Is it a substance than cannot be stolen? Is it independent of circumstances? Can you really be completely satisfied and happy no matter what is going on around you? Should happiness be pursued or is that selfish?
Well my friend, the gospel is the all in one solution.
The world mindset seeks happiness everywhere outside of God. They want to learn how to be happy out of their own strength and resource. It is at the root of every decision. If I have a lot of money I can buy that dream house. If I only had the right girlfriend, If only my boss wasn't such a... If my church leaders would only see the anointing on my life. Its purely set on conditions. The Gospel isn't conditional, it is based upon the rock of Christ. He is the truth, the life, and the way. He is the solution. (John 14:6)
Every desire in your heart is pleasantly met within Christ Himself. While the world chases things, we have the Kingdom of God within us. (Luke 17:21) The kingdom consists of 1 part joy, 1 part righteoussness, and 1 part peace, all in the great Holy Ghost. Now thats a great recipe.
If you know my testimony I used to be a addicted to marijuana. It wasn't until the Holy Ghost got me that I was set free from this bondage.
Let me explain...
Many think that we have to give up pleasure, and stifle all our desires when we become a "good christian." Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at it like this, the desires within you are like a mighty rushing river. In our past life this river took us to places of debauchery, sin, lust, addictions and so on. We had no power to control it. It was in our nature to do wrong.
The religious solution to this problem is this, you are now a christian, you must sober up, change your ways, do good things, be really moral, and try really hard to please God. Of course they may not use that language, I am simply using hyperbole to exaggerate the lies that come out of our deception. The problem with this solution is that a river is going to find an outlet one way or another. If it doesn't take its proper course, it is going to break through the banks and destroy a village. This is what happens when our desires are met through unhealthy ways, we destroy ourselves and others.
Here is what I believe the truth is, since you are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) you have a new heart, with new desires and passions. Now, this powerful river of desire takes you straight to the heart of God. It takes you to a land flowing with milk and honey. A place of pure bliss. Here you can eat of the fatted calf and drink the new wine without cost to you. "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost." (Isaiah 55:1) This is Jesus' plea to us. He so desires us to drink of His wellspring of life water.
See, your desire for pleasure was never wrong. Desires in the hands of the old man are evil. But for the new creation, its abounding joy. How can this be? Because its what we were created for. God created humanity not in the middle of a battle zone but a Garden. Eden actually means pleasure. He placed us in a garden of pleasure. The best part about this is, that at the cross, Jesus died to put that place of pure delight inside of us. His name is Holy Spirit.
The bible says, "in his presence is fullness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16v8-11) Lets unpack the word fullness. Does it mean just a little bit? Or maybe it means joy balanced with suffering? Nope, it means overflowing, brimming over, complete, abundance. Oh my, thats good news right there. How about the pleasures in his right hand? What does that look like? It looks like disney land to me. That word pleasure is na`iym, which means lovely, delight, sweet melody used to describe song. Can you see it? Just imagine, the sweet melodic tones of heavenly instruments delighting your soul, dancing, singing, shouting, praising, and laughter.
See, our God is extremely happy, and He paid the ultimate price to make you happy as well. The twist is this, the more we focus on making ourselves happy, the more it seems ever fleeting. But when our focus is turned away from self, we see true happiness invade our life. Thats why Jesus said, "Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."
God isn't here to bless your selfishness. But He knows that when we give up our own life, we finally find exactly what we were created for, pure delight, pure ecstasy, pure joy, GOD.
Now that we know that God is joy how can we partake in this glory? If the pleasures are in His right hand, how do I get there? Do I have to worship with all my heart? Do I fast and pray to encounter this reality?
Or is it true that we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus? Ephesians 2:6 "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus."
And where is Jesus seated? Mark 16:19 "When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand"
Wow, we are chillen with Jesus, seated at the right hand of God Almighty, and in His right hand are those eternal pleasures. And if you think I am being irreverent with my casual speech, lets not be silly. God is also a playful Father.
We see here that Christ is in the right hand of the Father and we are IN Christ. This is the gospel right here! John 14:20, "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."
This brings us to our next point. If all this is true then why don't I experience it? First of all, is truth the truth no matter what? Or is truth based on what we experience? Are we not called to live by faith and not by what we see? (2 Cor 5:7)
Faith comes first, when we are fully persuaded and trusting in the truth, the manifestation follows. So what can you do to increase your faith? Hear more of the good news, preach to yourself, bask in it like a turkey does gravy. "So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ." Romans 10:17
How else do we grow unless there is a gap from where we are now and where we want to be? I would love to be jacked up on the ecstasy of the Lord every moment of the day. Why not? Its only religion that says I can't have to much. In the name of balance we say " joy season is over, time to go into a desert season to work your character." Forget that, if your in a desert season, you need joy even more. Just tap into the cactus all around that desert and you'll find refreshment.
We are called to go from glory to glory right? We aren't going from depression to happy, back to depression. I understand there is a time for mourning, I am not referring to that. I am speaking to the dominate lifestyle of a christian, which is the fruit of the spirit. It may be fact that your going through a hard time right now, maybe your finances look grim, maybe your sick, maybe your family hates you, maybe you have no job. Even so, you can walk in peace and confidence.
To live this reality is so impossible that it has to be supernatural. But thats the christian faith for you, 100% Christ in you. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" right? (Phil 4:13) In its context, Paul is talking about the times he had much and the times where he had nothing. In either situation he has learned the secret of contentment, which is simply put, a thriving relationship with Christ.
Im telling you the truth, you can have rest in your soul even when all of hell is breaking out around you.
For example, In Acts 16:25 we find that Paul and Silas were beaten down and thrown into prison. What did they do? Did they cry out to The Lord, "where are you God? This is messed up, we are preaching your gospel and this is how we get treated?" No, they sang their hearts out praising God! And as they did, a violent earthquake shook the place and they walked right out of that joint.
Theres two ways to look at it.
1. It was the "right" thing to do in that situation… Praise God that is. Even though they didn't feel like it they sang and praised His goodness.
2. They were so in love with Christ and filled with His spirit that, like a drunken man they did not even begin to focus on their suffering. As it says in 2 Cor 4:17, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." He is saying that these sufferings that come against us are nothing compared to the glory we get to participate in, right now and for all eternity.
The first focusses on mans ability to be disciplined no matter what, which is VERY important.
But my point here is, when your passionately in love, you do crazy things. And when we surrender all of us, we are free to receive all of Him. We become possessed by the Holy Ghost, we become consumed, drunk, elated, and overflowing with joy and delight. We must let go of ourselves and reckon the old man DEAD. (Rom 6:11)
Have you ever noticed that drunk people take wild risks? Thats why they call it fire water, its a temporary moment of courage. How much greater the new wine of the Spirit? It may seem foolish to some, but to the childlike heart, it is the power of God. Are we not supposed to be like little children? (Matt 18:3)
See, when we see truth in the bible that doesn't match our lives we have a choice. We can rationalize why we aren't living that way, or we can say "God, give me a greater revelation!" And by resting in the truth we will begin to see it manifest in our life.
Thats why in the 1st chapter of the book of Ephesians, Paul prays for them to receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation. The truth is accessed and opened up to us through the spirit of wisdom and revelation. You know, Its like when a light bulb comes on in the brain. "ah ha" moments we call them.
This is a show and tell gospel. Its not about mere theology. Its about a true and living God. He loves to show off in ways completely beyond our imagination. So right now, I pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to encounter you. That no matter what is going on in your life, if your broke, if your depressed, or whatever the case may be, no matter how big or small, you would receive the light and easy yoke of God's grace. He's not up there biting His thumb about how you are gonna get through it. Psalm 2:4 says, He sits enthroned and laughs at the plans of the enemy. So right now, let the reality of abundant joy and eternal pleasures overtake your heart. Let the rivers of delight overflow from your belly and out of your laughing lips. "let the weak say I am strong" Begin to declare the truth of this sweet love wine and you will experience the reality of being fully satisfied no matter what the circumstance is. I pray that you would be so incredibly happy that people think your weird. Hey, its worth it. As acts 13:52 says, "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." May your joy brim over like a jar full of honey. May faith saturate your entire being. May you be completely satisfied yet ravenously hungry. May you be continually filled with the Holy Ghost!
About the Author: My name is Adam Luckey. I am a minister of the good news, friend of God, and a lover of His presence. I own a fitness business where I love to help people get fit, mind, body, and spirit. It is my goal to equip and coach those who are hungry to live the abundant life God has provided us through His Son Jesus. I regularly post content about these subjects on my blog at www.adamluckey.com. Come and visit. :)