The Christian life is largely won and lost on the battlefield of ideas regarding what makes us happy. If we believe the lie that saying no to sin means saying no to happiness, then no amount of self-restraint will keep us from ultimately seeking happiness in sin. John Piper writes, “You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart—more than you treasure sex or sugar or sports or shopping. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph.”
Our Creator lovingly warns us that sin is utterly disastrous. Disobeying God never brings happiness. Its fruit is death, self-destruction, loss, and disgrace (see Proverbs 1:31-33; 2:19, 22; 3:35). Of course, there are “fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). An injection of heroin or an immoral act can bring moments of pleasure—but not deep and lasting happiness. Sin can for the short term make us happy, but it won’t leave us happy.
If we see Jesus as the heart and soul of happiness, we’ll much more effectively resist the constant temptations to turn from Him. I share more in this video, which is an excerpt from Happiness 101, a seminary-level course I taught at Western Seminary:
If you’d like to learn more about the class, here’s the description for Happiness 101. It’s now available from our ministry on DVDs. (We also offer my classes on Heaven and stewardship.) I think even those who’ve read my Happiness book will benefit from this in-depth discussion of God’s happiness, and ours:
Is God happy? Should His children be happy?
Many believers today are taught that God wants us to be holy, but not happy, and that joy and happiness are fundamentally different. They’ve even been left with the impression that God Himself isn’t happy.
But joy, gladness, delight, celebration, and happiness in Christ are based on solid redemptive facts, including God’s love and sovereignty. Through the Gospel, called in Isaiah 52:7 the “good news of happiness,” God makes possible a settled happiness in Him despite life’s very real difficulties and sorrows.
The Happiness 101 class, filmed at author Randy Alcorn's Western Seminary course, contains 12 one-hour sessions on 6 DVDs that will guide your study of our God-given quest for happiness. Randy examines the triune God’s own happiness that makes Him the source of ours, as well as the rich constellation of Hebrew and Greek happiness synonyms in Scripture. You’ll discover how the most popular Bible translations have obscured many happiness passages, and how the now pervasive evangelical contrast between joy and happiness is both unbiblical and misleading.
This video series will help you cultivate a foundational happiness in Christ that enriches you, encourages your family and friends, and draws unbelievers to Jesus.
The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! —A. W. Tozer
I really enjoyed the class. Randy did an excellent job teaching! This is really a paradigm shifting truth. I know it will have an impact upon my ministry! —J.S., pastor
EPM also offers a free study guide.