In many religions the more the devotees suffer and the sadder they are, the more religious they are considered to be. But for the born-again Christian, it's supposed to be just the opposite! One measure of Christians' spirituality or religiosity is whether they're victorious and smiling and really happy.
God hasn't made religion difficult and grievous, and Jesus certainly didn't make it that way. Not even Moses, with all the strict laws he laid down, made it that way. That's always been the fault of religious leaders and teachers who changed things and interpreted things to suit themselves, to exalt themselves and to try to get a tighter control on the people--who as Jesus said, "bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers" (Matthew 23:4).
I don't see how any people are ever going to be truly happy without the Lord. Even if they have all of their physical needs supplied, they have to have something to satisfy their spiritual needs and their hunger for happiness. Thank God that's what we have in Jesus!
I'm no ascetic. I couldn't be satisfied with sitting on a bed of nails, torturing myself, denying myself everything, and fasting all the time. I enjoy everything God has given, and I'm very happy!
Even our work makes us happy--if it's work that we know is doing some good and helping people. Our religion makes us happy, our work makes us happy, our play makes us happy, and we have very little that makes us unhappy, except the fact that some other people are not happy.
Sometimes wondering if I made the right decision or choice or did the right thing concerns me, so that for a little while I'm not as happy as I should be. But I always come out of the woods afterwards to find out that the Lord helped everything work out for the best and I shouldn't have worried after all (Romans 8:28).
And we are sometimes sick, of course. That may not make us feel very happy for a while, but even that doesn't destroy our total happiness. Our physical condition may leave a little something to be desired--health and strength--but it doesn't make us all that unhappy. We can still be very happy in spirit and mentally.
When I see people who aren't happy, I always figure there must be something wrong with their religion. That's why we should take every opportunity we get to urge others to enjoy the same happiness that we have. If they haven't got it and they see that we do, they're going to wonder what the difference is, and they're going to want it too--and the difference, of course, is Jesus!
So, hallelujah for happiness! Thank God for a happy religion and a happy life! Thank the Lord for being able to enjoy all the physical pleasures He gives us, as well as the spiritual pleasures. We've got everything! The only thing I can think of that I want is for other people to be as happy as I am. That's the only real longing or need that I have--the desire to help others understand all that Jesus has to offer, and to help make them happy.
Thank God for happiness and enjoyment of life, our religion, and the Lord! As I often sing:
Happy now, happy now,
Since I found the favor of my loving Savior.
All the past, gone at last,
And I don't care when or how, praise God!
I'm happy now, happy now,
I have lasting joy!
Oh, the Devil's deserted,
And I am converted,
And I'm happy, happy, happy, happy now!