Today's topic stems from the lyrics to a Sheryl Crow song that I heard in the car a few days ago. This song was popular when I was in grade school, so at some point I knew most of the lyrics; however, as I listened to the song this last time, I actually focused on the words*. The first half of the chorus is "if it makes you happy, it can't be that bad." And I thought, "Wait...what? Says who?" Then I answered my own question: "Says the world." If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "As long as you're happy..." or "If it makes you happy..." or "I just want you to be happy...", then Mr. Poe and I could buy a mansion today. The world is focused on happiness.
Happiness in itself isn't a bad thing- variations of the word are used approximately 25 times in the scriptures (NKJV); the word "joy" is used 158 times (NKJV). But the question we need to ask ourselves is: why are people in the Bible happy?
"Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Jehovah his God..." (Ps 146:5)
"Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." (Pro 28:14)
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" (1 Thess 2:19)
"My bretherren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowning that the testing of your faith produced patience." (Jas 1:2-3)
How does the happiness/joy in these verses compare to what makes our friends happy, what makes our neighbors happy, and even what makes us happy? Our joy should be in the Lord, and if it's not, we probably have some soul searching to do.
Obviously some degree of carnal "happiness" can be found in whatever sin(s) we struggle with (drinking, promiscuity, lying, gossiping, etc) or we would not be tempted to commit them. But Ms. Crow's lyrics are totally erroneous- the fact that something yields pleasure does NOT mean that that something is inherently good. Pro 14:12 and 16:25 state, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." This verse reiterates that just because we think something is good doesn't mean GOD thinks it's good!
Gal 5:16-26 discusses the lusts/works of the flesh vs the fruit of the Spirit. Verses 24 and 25 say, "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Again, if we belong to the body of Christ, we are to find happiness in Him and those things which the Bible says should bring us happiness (God, Christ, our brethren, serving, etc.).
I have been blessed far beyond anything I deserve, and reminders like this help me to reexamine where I my trust and happiness lies. I hope these thoughts have been encouraging to you, as they have been to me. Until next week, happy studying!
*Mr. Poe and I have been paying a lot more attention to the junk we put into our heads through songs, movies, etc. lately. For the record, I don't think this song will be one that I'll listen to again...but that's a topic for another day.