Seriously Happy

Matt Evans

Posted January 29, 2019
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Most of us are serious about our happiness … after all, the “pursuit of happiness” is as American as apple pie. However, how many of us are “seriously happy?”

Often times we pursue a happiness that is purely circumstantial, seasonal and often superficial. Recently, I read where some fans of the New Orleans Saints were suing the NFL for the blown non-call in the 2019 NFC Championship game that many people felt cost the Saints a trip to the Super Bowl. According to the New Orleans Advocate, they cite “mental anguish and emotional trauma” due to the referees’ decision not to throw a flag.  Seriously? Should our emotional and mental state be tethered so tightly to a football game? Should our happiness be anchored to something so uncertain and unpredictable as the outcome of a sports competition? Or the stock market? Or our social media status?

Despite the deception of God being a cosmic killjoy, He is rather interested in our happiness and joy. We are offered the joy of Jesus (John 15:11) who went to the Cross for the “joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). This means that there is a joy past the confines of what is merely comfortable and convenient since neither of those words describe the cross Jesus endured in our place. And so when Jesus invites us to pick up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24-26), He is still offering us joy … serious joy that can’t be lost and that is tied forever to Him and not a score, a season, or a preferred situation.

Serious joy does not have to be fragile or fleeting. People said of Jonathan Edwards that he had a happiness that was “out of reach of his enemies.” This is the happiness that we as Christ-followers should seriously pursue and genuinely offer to others.

  • Serious joy is found in Christ and at the right hand of God forever (Psalm 16:11).
  • Serious joy can be found in trials that refine our faith (James 1:2-4).
  • Serious joy is found in the Kingdom of God by the Holy Spirit (Romans 16:14).

Seriousness does not threaten joy; seriousness only threatens our folly since we are all “one decision away from stupid.” Often, our worst decisions were made because we thought something would make us happy or happier. So any threat to that tendency that exists in all of us is that one we can joyfully welcome. Pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones said it decades ago: “People have this foolish notion that you cannot be happy and serious at the same time. That is where the trouble comes in. But you can. The only joy worth having is a serious joy, a sober joy, a deep joy, a solid joy.”

Let’s go after serious joy when we sing in worship, engage the Word of God, pray for more of God in our lives, and gather in community. Let’s work for each other’s joy that comes from faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:24).

So the time next you engage the Bible or enter a worship service, resolve to be serious because serious things are at stake and serious joy is being offered. And know that we are praying this over you and those you are seeking to share this joy-producing, joy-giving Jesus with —

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13 (CSB)