Happy and I know it!
When I was a kid in the 60’s and 70’s, most of my friends’ families would get up on Sunday morning, drive to the corner church of their choosing and attend a worship service. I was fortunate to have access to a bus ministry that would come pick up the kids of unchurched families like me. We would sing songs like “If you’re happy and you know it – clap your hands…” I was fortunate the church I attended preached the Good News/Truth about Jesus.
Growing up, I learned as I read the Bible that God wants a relationship with us, and we were created to glorify Him. Today there are many false doctrines that would have us believe what we get out of life and how we feel is the main purpose of church. In other words, today it would seem God is supposed to glorify us.
The self-serving faith, so prevalent in America today, is a ruse used to gain a legion of followers. The line usually goes “God wants you to be happy. If you are sick or poor or have some trouble in your life (kids, spouse, career etc.), it is because some sin is getting between you and God.” It may even sound like “There is a power in you which can overcome anything that comes against you”. Sadly – the emphasis is always on you.
In the Beatitudes, (Matt. Ch 5), the mindset Jesus requires of us is just the opposite. They are an outline of behaviors and attitudes which have nothing to do with “self-promotion” or achievement. Jesus tells us the key to happiness is selflessness. Poor in Spirit, meek and gentle, mourners, merciful, hungering and thirsting for righteousness unto persecution and insults please the Lord. Jesus later declared the poor widow as the most noble tither because she didn’t give out of her surplus. Unfortunately, most people give from their leftovers. Aren’t leftovers what you give to the dog?
I once had a coworker call me, who went to one of the new entertainment churches that provide that emotional high. He said “I need to ask you a question. I’m not ‘feeling it’ anymore. What do you think is going on?” He meant in a church sense, so I told him “That’s actually a good thing.” Surprised, he said, “Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m not happy anymore. I’m not feeling it!” He was concerned for his spiritual well-being.
I told him “Yes it is a good thing…. It is not about feelings. God definitely blesses us and fills us with joy and a peace that passes understanding, calms our fears and comforts us, but the relationship we have when we admit we are sinners and accept Christ as Lord and Savior and are born again is not simply based on how we feel.” “I don’t understand” he said. “Well, let me put it this way.” I said. God loves us and wants us to be in His will, but His will is that we glorify Him, not the other way around. It’s not about you or measured by your feelings.” He asked, “How do you know?” I said “Because one of these days, God is going to ask you to do something and you’re not going to ‘feel’ like it. What do you tell God then?”
The Gospel of Matthew Chapter 20, verses 25 – 28 records:
“…. but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
“Blessed are those who mourn – for they shall be comforted.” If we never fall to our knees in agony for this world, how can we demand to be comforted? If we don’t mourn for those around us who have not experienced the saving grace of Christ, how much do we really rejoice when someone does ?
This has been going on for thousands of years. Paul knew what it was to mourn over people, caring more about their lives than our own. In Philippians, we are admonished to “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus”.
Happy – I mourn today, for I know I will be comforted.