Have you been to the psychology section of your local bookstore lately?
If you have, you have likely seen tons of books available on the subject of happiness. Each one promises a “secret” to it and places it within reach … well sorta.
It should come as no surprise that a market is out there to help us tap into what we want the most. With all the resources and experts out there telling us what we need to do to feel better and smile more, you would think that would be, right? Evidence shows that the reality is quite to the contrary. We are miserable.
Straight out of the pages of Scripture we see that God is a happy God. Not that you won’t see some other aspects of God as he has to deal with us on numerous occasions, but the default character of God isn’t anger or wrath. Theologians tell us that for an attribute to be an attribute, it has to be what God was like before he created anything. And before God created anything he was happy. God is happy by default:
“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Ps. 16:11 (ESV)
Is there something he isn’t sharing with us? Some secret?
No, not at all. As a matter of fact he shares more than just information with us, he shares himself. In doing so, he is revealing more than just tips, but a life lived where all can see. By observing him, we learn five things that make this God so happy. Not only that we can follow his joyous lead.
1. God is Community
Christians believe in one God who is three distinct persons. It’s tough to wrap our heads around to be sure, but the point is, there was never a time when God was without community because that is his very being. It isn’t something he chooses to do now and then, it who he is.
We can’t be happy alone. People need people. We don’t just need any ole’ people, but those that are truly life-giving and seek our good. To have even one devoted friend is of enormous value. To be happy we need them.
2. God Creates
God created the world and rejoiced in what he had made. It’s in the opening account of the Bible.
Business manuals suggest that the happiest places on earth to work are those where the people feel the freest to create and not feel judged. Some of the happiest professions are those that allow and make room for people to be more creative. What does that tell you? It means we were made to create also.
3. God Gives
If I hear the statement, “Money is the root of all evil” one more time I’m gonna puke! The Bible doesn’t say this. It says “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Having lots of money can make you happy. If you give it away.
Harvard Professor Michael Norton wrote a book about this called Happy Money, the Science of Smarter Spending. In it he presents data to support his daily challenge to audiences:
“If you think money doesn’t buy happiness, try giving some away.”
He is right.
Those that give are happier than those who don’t. Imagine that! (Acts 20:35).
4. God is Thankful
Go back to the first chapter of the Bible again. What do you see? Not only is God creating, but he is thankful in the process. He turns to himself repeatedly to say, “Good job!”.
Being thankful takes work. We aren’t by nature. I know for myself I have had to sit down, shut up and make a list of things that I should be thankful for. It’s a pain, but by the end of that exercise, I am happier than before. Try it.
5. God beautifies
This one is hard to explain, but it is my personal favorite. God doesn’t just create; he fixes. He restores. He connects. In other words, God is not in the business of breaking things down, but ultimately building them up and making them better.
My wife loves to decorate and occasionally do makeovers for her friends. I love to write and do public speaking. Each of us in our own way are adding something to improve or at least point people to what is so beautiful to begin with.
If you want to be happy, find something broken and repair it. Find broken people and help them heal. See where people are struggling and come alongside them and lift them back on their feet.
The happiest being did all these to us. In what seemed like the ugliest event in history he…
CREATED sons and daughters
Established a COMMUNITY of THANKFULNESS
& is making all things BEAUTIFUL.
This truly is the Gospel of the blessed (happy) God – 1 Timothy 1:11.