I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World by Lisa Harper. Our B&H Books team helped with this blog.
So often, those who sit in our pews or serve under our leadership view God as a furrow-browed enforcer of rules, waiting for His people to make a misstep so that He might slap them on the wrist. While we must teach that God is holy, we must also declare that God is happy.
Throughout Scripture we see the Greek words makarios and asre, frequently translated as “blessed,” but just as easily translated as “happy.” There are more than 2,700 passages throughout Scripture that reference terms related to happiness, including Psalm 1 and the Sermon on the Mount. Happiness is obviously important to God.
So what truths do those we lead need to know about happiness?
1. Happiness is not the absence of sadness.
Often, well-meaning people discuss the need for joy even in difficulty, as if happiness is not possible when sadness is also involved. This simply isn’t the case. The dichotomy of happiness and sadness can coexist.
2. Happiness is a sacrament.
The general definition of sacrament is “a visible sign of inward grace.” In its broadest understanding, a sacrament is a gift bestowed by God, and in that case, “happiness” is absolutely a sacrament—a visible, sometimes even audible, sign of inward grace! This grace is not dependent upon our circumstance and neither is our happiness. Rather, happiness is a result of the great grace we have received.
3. God’s happiness is not dependent upon you and your behavior.
God’s happiness is completely self-reliant. God is a perfect community unto Himself in the Trinity, and this is great news, because this means that God’s happiness is not dependent upon what we do or don’t do. And He who is perfectly complete and happy in and of Himself has chosen to dwell within us through His Holy Spirit and be deeply involved in every aspect of our little (often rebellious against Him) lives. He is near. He is unchanging, and He is happy!
May we live happily in Him in light of these truths.
Enter here or in the form below by 11:59p.m. tonight, June 28, 2017 for your chance to win 1 of 10 copies of Lisa Harper’s book The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World. Winners will be notified in the next week. For every book purchase, a donation will be made toward building a sustainable garden in Neply, Haiti—where Lisa’s daughter Missy was born.