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The idea of happiness gets no respect these days. To be “happy” is sometimes the opposite of “serious.” If you paid someone a lot of money to do a very important project – you’d probably feel better knowing the person was serious – working and…miserable. If she were “happy”, you’d think she was goofing off. “How can you be happy when there’s so much work to do?”
Intellectuals think happy people are stupid. Like children, they don’t know any better, so they’re happy and oblivious to all that is wrong with the world. Christians think this way also, spiritual people weep and mourn. People like Elijah and Moses asked God to take their lives they were so unhappy. And so it’s possible to read misery and gloom into all the writings of the Bible… Even though Paul wrote: Rejoice ALWAYS, I’ll say it again (in case you’re thinking something else) rejoice! <–imperative. And Jesus says those who mourn in His Kingdom are blessed (i.e., “happy”). So what’s the deal?
Jesus’ statement: “happy are those who mourn” puts the whole thing in perspective: Jesus wants us to be realists, not sugar-coating all that is wrong in your world, but being happy at the same time…
Practically, that means almost every day, you ought to find time to get deeply content, happy, and celebrate.
Most people don’t do this. Stupidly, we often choose to live with angst and despair. We fix our minds on statements like: “I can’t be happy unless – – -” Somehow thinking that (being saved by our works), we’ll be more successful if we don’t allow ourselves happiness until something comes through. But for wise Christians before us: prayer time was a time to celebrate. To acknowledge that God is in heaven, and I’m not him.
Now maybe you think what I’m saying here is IMPOSSIBLE to do in practice. So what should you do about it? God commands it. Rejoice. No exceptions. Paul got that message while sitting under house arrest in a foreign city. It IS possible. We know because people have done it, and if you’re part of a group seeking Jesus, there are probably people around you who are doing it too… So what we do is: we approach it like any difficult thing. Go to God, admit we can’t, ask him for help, and then get up and see what we can do…