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?