Legalistic indoctrination begins early.  I remember a little song that said something like this:

I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.  Since Jesus Christ came in and took away my sin, I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time. 

So, little boy or little girl, you see that those who are not happy all the time might not have Jesus in their hearts and might still be living in sin.

I think those who say they are happy all the time most likely lie about other things also.  Let’s face it: there are happy times and not-so-happy times.  There are days or hours or minutes when we just have trouble feeling happy.  Why lie about it?  Why deny what is really happening in our hearts?

Show me one person in the Bible who is happy all the time.  Not Adam.  Not Moses.  Not David.  And, no, not Jesus.

There is a difference between true Christian joy and temporal happiness.  In my heart is joy.  No matter what is happening around me, I know that I am loved and accepted and that my future is good in Jesus.  I know this and I can usually find it in challenging times.  Joy is real and is part of who I am.

But happiness is in the moment.  Happiness is where the things of the world connect positively with the desires of my flesh.  Everyone has flesh to deal with.  Everyone has to learn a new way of thinking.  Everyone who is saved is being transformed.  Our salvation is finished because He did it but it will take the rest of our lives to learn just what that really means for us.  In the meantime, the flesh will still cause us to react in ways that seem negative.  We will, occasionally (perhaps less and less), be unhappy.

And that’s just as true for the grace teacher as for the legalist and for the person who has no idea where he stands.  There is a way out of unhappiness, but it sure is easy to get into.

What do you think?


Filed under heart, Legalism

5 responses to “Unhappy?

  1. Ana

    Hey David, how are you able to feel that way, To be honest there are plenty of moments I feel like Jesus has forgotten about me ( which is not true) but I do feel it. I always feel that I will be abandoned if I don’t do something good, that’s how I grew up….feeling accepted because I was a bright student, and am not able to accept that God can love me unconditionally . I don’t even know how to trust God like a child or have complete faith in him. I desire a deeper relationship with him, and to trust Him completely because I know He loves me but I don’t know how to feel..

    • Kelly

      To Ana, I really get what you are saying. I have been there too. I had to perform to be accepted by both my parents. My mom still expects that- when she approves of my life its good, when she doesn’t then she criticizes me-. For me, I fight everyday not to take counsel with my feelings. Feelings are very fickle things. They are necessary and great in relationships but really bad counselors. Just this morning I had to preach to myself about not getting into how I feel about our weekend family dysfunctional reunion. Instead I am telling myself today what I know to be true and letting my feelings follow my correct thinking/truth instead of how stirred up I can get with my f.o.o. (family of origin).

      • Ana

        Kelly, am glad to know there are other people who struggle with the same feelings. Dave says feelings are natural and normal but not a source of truth in our lives. We should carry all our feelings and open up to God, I know he cares and UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING. He can heal us and show us the way, He promised Job that in time he would heal all his wounds Job 5:17-18. He can do the same to any of his children, heal us and give us knowledge and wisdom and strength

      • Thanks Kelly! So often victory lies in simply doing the right thing, regardless of our feelings. You should have the relationship that is best for you with your mom, not what is best for her because she will twist and manipulate and you will never win. If you have different expectations going in, you will have more victory coming out. So, you don’t expect your mom to make you happy. You don’t expect to make her happy. You just do what you feel is right and find peace in that.

    • I believe that it is possible to accept my feelings without trusting them. My feelings are often not reflections of truth. Instead, they connect with other things in my life and heart. I become angry because I am afraid or I hurt. I become sad because I loved or I feel loss. Feelings are natural and normal, but not a source of truth in our lives.

      So it may be quite natural for you to feel that you have been abandoned by the Lord from time to time as something connects with your life experience, while you know that the reality is very different. He would never abandon you. He is always with you. You can adjust your feelings as you remember the truth. Yet, I think it is important to take those feelings to the Lord. Tell Him what you feel. Your feelings are important to Him because He loves you.

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