Friday, July 6, 2012

Did Jesus Die to Make You Happy?

Author/psychologist Larry Crabb says, “A flaw in our view of Christian marriage (and all Christian life) is the appealing emphasis on becoming happy. Our peppy songs about joyful Christianity neglect the need to develop a holy, obedient walk with God no matter what personal suffering may be involved.”

In “If God Is Good,” Randy Alcorn writes “If we come to see the purpose of the universe as God’s long-term glory rather than our short-term happiness, then we will undergo a critical paradigm shift in tackling the problem suffering.” Likewise, Greg Laurie writes, “The purpose of the universe is God’s glory, not our happiness. We tend to think of the world as revolving around us. We are the main characters of our own novels. And when something bad happens, we want to know why this is happening to me.”

It seems to me if we are in the throes of apocalyptic events, we can expect more suffering—none of us will escape. Are we ready? Randy Alcorn answers: “We shouldn’t wait until suffering comes, to start learning how to face it, any more than we should wait to fall into the water before we start learning how to scuba dive.” How do you learn?  When trials come, choose joy.


  1. Greg,

    God's ways are indeed far above ours. And this seems to be especially brought out by our approach to suffering.

    J.I.Packer, in his 1975 book "Knowing God" has one small chapter among others that deals specifically with the question of "suffering saints" entitled "These Inward Trials" which was inspired by John Newton's poem by the same name. It is one of the most balanced treatments on this subject I have ever come across and it effected positively my understanding why things don't go my way as often as I expect them to. Hint: my life, even though it is my life, is still not about me at all. It is all about how I fit into His life, and His life being the one that I live.

    Yesterday I heard a sermon that prompted the thought: Jesus died that we might live that we might die that He might live through us.



    1. Was the sermon titled "Dying to Live?"

    2. Greg,

      It could have been. The text was from Ephesians 4:7-10 about Jesus fillings all things. The above thought was incedental, but timely nevertheless.


  2. Good day Greg,
    In talking with some friends, I have heard more than once, "God wants me to be happy" as the precursor for justification for something that violates what is true or right or noble or good. "God wants me to be happy, so it is OK for me to divorce my wife and marry this other woman so that I can show people what a loving marriage is."
    My question is, in the bible, where does it say that God wants you to be happy? A quick perusal of the prophets (and specifically Isaiah and Jeremiah) and one quickly understands that personal happiness is not on the agenda.
    To flip the Westminster catechism, "It is one of the chief purposes of God to glorify man that God might enjoy man forever." That would be heretical, if the glory of man were to stop at man, but when man is in the final embrace, made completely holy, is comprehensively mature (righteousness, love, unselfishness, etc.), and man cannot get to that place but it not for the works of God on the cross in Christ, then it all brings glory to God. With that end in mind (not our temporal happiness but instead to be made like Christ), God goes to work around us and in us. With all of the resources that God has, we should not be surprised that this life is but a crucible to for that image of Christ in us, the hope of glory.
    Godspeed! Larry