The book of Nehemiah records God’s sovereign plan to rebuild Jerusalem. Yet it repeatedly shows Nehemiah’s strategic positioning of his people to counter the building project’s many enemies: “We prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat” (Nehemiah 4:9, NIV). Their prayer acknowledged God’s sovereignty. Their preparations recognized their responsibility to act wisely.
Likewise, our actions should be in concert with our prayers—we should pray to find happiness in God and then take the kind of actions that will help us find happiness in God.
Some say, “I thought I would experience joy in the Christian life, but I never have.” Is that because we spend hours a day on social media but “don’t have time” to join a home Bible study? Do we schedule lunches and tennis matches but not regular times with God? Why do we expect to be happy in God when we’re not choosing to do what we can to learn, study, and discuss who God is, what He has done, and what He’s doing?
The Christian life is supernatural but not enchanted. God doesn’t magically make us happy despite the fact that we make work, sports, leisure, or sex into our idols. If we choose to seek happiness elsewhere, God won’t force Himself on us. And He certainly won’t give us happiness in what’s not from Him or what’s distanced from Him.
Happiness comes naturally in the same sense that fruit comes naturally from a tree. If the tree gets sufficient sunshine and water, if the ground is rich in nutrients, if the tree doesn’t contract diseases, then yes, it “naturally” produces fruit. We must plant ourselves in the rich soil of God’s Word, soak in the living water of God and His people, and bask in the radiant sunlight of His grace. And then happiness will come naturally.
In this video, Pastor Greg Laurie and I answer the question, “What are things that contribute to happiness, and what are things that deplete it?”
Watch our full interview here.Browse more resourceson the topic of happiness, and see Randy’s related books, including Happiness and Does God Want Us to Be Happy?