I was so blessed to be a part of the launch group for Jennifer Dukes Lee’s new book The Happiness Dare. I love this book. Well, still loving it. You NEED to get it! This excellent book will change how you view happiness.
I used to be under the illusion that happiness was something to be discounted, even disdained. I had either read or heard that God didn’t put us here to be happy. And that happiness is usually associated with a worldly origin.
Well, yes, it can be. However, we have failed to see it from God’s viewpoint.
As Jennifer says, “We’ve sat under teachings that created a dichotomy between
holiness and happiness. Happiness seemed off-limits, even sinful.”
So, what does happiness mean? I had to stop researching and cut out a lot because this post got enormously long!
First, I looked up the English definition of happiness and found it means delighted, glad, contentment, joy, pleasure, enjoyment, well-being, glee, cheerful, a satisfied state of being.
Happiness, gladness, cheerfulness, and joy appeared to be spokes of the same wheel.
Next, I checked the Bible and found the same thing; it is filled with joy, happiness, and gladness. I wanted to see if the definition of joy in Scripture included happy or glad, so I started in the Old Testament with Nehemiah 8:10b, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (NKJV) Joy means gladness and rejoicing. Another version says, “Don’t be sad…he will make you happy and strong.” (CEB)
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God…will rejoice over you with gladness…He will rejoice over you with singing.” (NKJV) Rejoice is used twice in this verse but they are two different words. The first rejoice means to be bright, cheerful, to exult, to exhibit joy. The second one means to spin around, to exult, to be glad.
Psalm 45:7b directly points to Jesus as being anointed with “the oil of gladness.” (NKJV) This word for gladness means cheerfulness, welcome, joy, rejoicing, and mirth.
Then, I searched the New Testament. Do you know what blessed means? One word is makarios and means happy, fortunate, and well-off. 1 Timothy 1:11 uses the word: “…according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” (NKJV) Jesus used the same word in the Beatitudes each time He said “Blessed is…”
When He told a parable and ended with, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matt. 25:21 NKJV), He used the word chara for joy, which means gladness, cheerfulness, and calm delight.
Do you see it? We have a blessed God! A glad God! A cheerful God! A happy God!
“Happiness is an outward expression of an inward joy that is found in Jesus.
Happiness is a gift from a happy God.
Happiness is an offer extended to us by the gospel— an offer of happiness forever, starting with happiness today.”
In trying circumstances when your heart is breaking, it is difficult to plaster on a happy face. Jennifer says, “Maybe you need to know this: You have permission to feel sorrow. It’s okay to cry. The God who gave you your smile also gave you your tear ducts.”
When Jennifer discovered happy holiness, she says, “I had come to understand this truth: Our inner desire for happiness isn’t a sin. It’s a desire planted in us by God himself.”
A happy God gives happiness to His children.
So, what do you think? Is it joy or happiness? Or both?
*Jennifer has a link on her site for a happiness assessment quiz with five types of happiness.
Be sure you get your copy of The Happiness Dare.
*Jennifer’s home on the internet