About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Are You Happy?    

 March 14, 2002

We are often encouraged from various people to be happy Christians. This leads me to ask the question, should Christians be expected to be happy all the time?

In John 10:10 Jesus says that we can have abundant life. Is Jesus telling us that we can be happy all the time? Is the abundant life equivalent to a happy life?

Was Jesus always happy? Was He happy when He overturned the money tables in the temple? (Mat. 21:12) Was He happy when he wept over the death of Lazarus? (John 11:35) Was He happy when He sorrowed over Jerusalemís rejection of Him and His message? (Luke 13:34) When Jesus was troubled at the last supper knowing that Judas would betray Him, was He happy? (John 13:21) Was Jesus happy when He was in agony praying in the Garden just before His arrest? (Luke 22:39-46)

Look at Paulís life and all of the things he suffered. As a matter of fact, at Paulís conversion the Lord told him that he would suffer many things as a result of following Him. (Acts 9:16) What did Paul mean when he said that he felt pressure beyond his ability to endure and that he despaired even of life? (2 Cor. 1:8) Could Paul have experience depression?

I think that we can easily say that Jesus and Paul were not happy all of the time. They had their times of sorrow, and possibly even depression. If this is true, then the abundant life must mean more than happiness, prosperity, and external abundance.

In all of Paulís trials he learned to be content. (1 Tim. 6:8) In all of his tribulations He relied on the Lord Jesus. (2 Cor. 1:9) Paul would have agreed with James when he said the trial of their faith was important, and that they would be inwardly joyful through it all. (James 1:2)

Abundant life must be that inner experience we have with Jesus through His Holy Spirit. Outward happiness may not always be there, but the Holy Spirit who lives within us is always there. (Heb. 13:5)

Let us all be careful not to put undo pressure on people when they donít feel happy. Let us not make people feel guilty for their times of unhappiness , but let us encourage them, even if it means to cry with them. (Rom. 12:15) Last of all, let us not give the wrong impression of what the Christian life is all about.

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