Everyone has there own idea of who God is. Many imagine God as the ultimate disciplinarian, wrathful and judgmental, regularly. Others imagine God as solemn, holy, meek and even quiet. But what is God really like? We have been taking a look at happiness over the past several weeks. Is God happy?
First, God is supreme, preeminent, and mind bogglingly above our pay grade. Our attempt here to describe God is limited and that is the understatement of the millennium. Nevertheless, what is delightful about God is that the more you learn about Him, the more you understand that He desires that we come to know Him. But how can we know Him if we cannot see Him? The answer is that God reveals Himself to us in three ways. He reveals Himself through creation, the natural beauty of the world around us. His invisible attributes are clearly seen visibly in creation (Romans 1). Next, He reveals Himself in the Word of God (both Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures). And last, He also reveals Himself through His people (Christians who authentically know and follow Him). Let’s explore what these things communicate about God’s happiness.
In Randy Allcorn’s book Happiness, I found this discussion of God’s character very captivating and frankly paradigm shifting. Allcorn writes, “Putting God on the side of holiness and Satan on the side of happiness is a dangerous maneuver.”1 I too grew up learning commandments, all the shall nots, and I remember that God’s holiness was often communicated in angry imagery. It was as if the main thing I was supposed to learn about God was that He is angry. While the Bible speaks of God’s anger against evil and sin, it is not near the full picture of God our Creator. Take creation for example. Why does God allow grace to touch the lives of every human? Doesn’t the sun shine on the wicked and the righteous? This great question is asked in the Bible. Let’s take a practical example. Do you think ice cream tastes good randomly or because God designed taste buds, sugars, milk, etc.? Doesn’t the ability God gave us to enjoy ice cream communicate a lot about God. We have already discussed that our desire for happiness comes from God’s desire for us to be happy. What does the Word of God say about His happiness.
One of the key texts that gives us a clue about God is 1 Timothy 1:11.
1 Timothy 1:11 (NLT) 11that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
In this translation we see God is described as blessed. Sometimes we have the idea that blessed is holy or set apart. That’s part of it but not the full meaning. Blessed comes from the Greek word μακάριος (makarios) which is often translated “happy.” Is this text describing a happy God? Yes! And doesn’t it make sense that God who is perfectly good, holy, honest, and kind would be the happiest person of all? Of course it does. And this should have a profound impact on God’s people.
Psalm 16:11 (NLT) 11You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
In a small way Christians should reflect the happiness of our great and happy God! Too often people are convinced they shouldn’t follow God by what they witness from Christians in their lives. If I see a harsh, judgmental “Christian” what evidence does that present me of God’s delightfulness or His love? Authentic faith in Christ should be depicted by love, joy, and peace in the life of a believer. They will not be perfect, nor will they be perpetually effervescent. However, this happiness that comes from a reconciled relationship with God through Jesus should be apparent in the way they relate to our happy God and others. This is certainly my experience being around authentic followers of Jesus.
As we can see, creation, the Bible, and other Christians provides evidence that God is the most happy delightful person in all creation. So why does the world portray holy things as unhappy and unholy things as happy?
1 Randy Allcorn. Happiness. Tyndale, 2015, 8.