Can I Be Happy? (And Other Things Christians Ask about Happiness)

Carrie Lowrance

When things are going wrong and there is an obstacle at every turn, can we be happy? On the other hand, when good things are happening for us but we see others struggle, can we still be happy? Both of these situations are a tough call. It is very easy to look up and say, “Even though there is a lot going on, can I be happy? Can I be happy even though there are struggles at every turn? When I see those around me suffering, can I still be happy?”

The answer is: yes! Here are deeper answers to common questions that Christians ask about happiness.

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Is Happiness God's Highest Priority?

Yes and no. On one hand, he doesn’t like to see us suffer and be in pain because he is a loving and merciful God. On the other hand, when we are really going through some struggles, he knows that it will lead us to greater happiness. In these moments, happiness isn’t necessarily a priority. Opening our eyes and hearts is more important, because God’s highest priority is us having a relationship with him and him with us. As our loving Father, he wants to lead us to our greater good.

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If It's Not God's Top Priority, Does He Still Want Me to Be Happy?

In general, God likes to see his children happy and thriving. He also likes to see his children take notice of what he is trying to teach them. No matter what we are going through, God wants to see us happy, whether it is at this moment or on down the line in the future.

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Is it Wrong to Seek Happiness?

No, it is not wrong to seek happiness. What matters is how we define happiness. If we become consumed with material things that replace the Lord in our lives, then it is wrong to pursue this kind of happiness. Because we’re valuing things above God. It’s not wrong to have or want nice things. It becomes unhealthy and sinful when that’s all you think about it.. However, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a career you want, buying something special once in awhile, or enjoying time with friends and family.

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Why Am I Not Happy?

As a Christian, being unhappy or discontent could be a sign of drifting from the Lord. Has your prayer life run dry? Are you neglecting church? Do you find yourself distracted from your daily Bible time? These could be symptoms of why you are not happy. If you identify with these symptoms, thankfully, his Word gives instructions that can restore your happiness. The Lord’s Word is living water, and it is essential for us to spend time with him daily.

God tells us, for his glory and our good to “pray without ceasing,” “meditate on the Word day and night,” and  “don’t neglect to meet together.”

There may also be other reasons why you’re not happy. A stressful job, family issues, problems with your significant other, or various other stressful things going on in your life. If this is you, spend some time in prayer and see where the Lord is leading you.

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What is the Difference Between Happiness and Joy?

Are happiness and joy the same thing? The definition of happiness is the state of being happy. The definition of joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness, rejoice. Clearly, these are not the same thing. Happiness is a choice we make on a daily basis, either we are going to be sad, angry, etc or we’re going to be happy. Joy is what we have in a relationship with the Lord. Joy is also the feeling we get from having a job that fills us with purpose, having wonderful friends, or a loving family. 

With joy, you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!Isaiah 12:3.

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How Do I Find True Happiness?

It is easy for us to try and find happiness on our own. However, happiness tends to be fleating and difficult to recognize. How many times have we made decisions that weren’t the right ones for us and regretted it later? Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to figure out what’s going to make us happy that we forget to go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to lead us.

Charles Spurgeon said, "Holiness is the royal road to happiness. The death of sin is the life of joy.”

True happiness is always within God's heart. If you feel drawn to some sort of happiness that is outside God's ways, it is sin, not true happiness.  

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Steps to Live as a Happier Christian.

There are many things you can do to take steps to live as a happier Christian. If you’re not spending time with the Lord on a daily basis, carve out some time, even if it is only five minutes a day. He loves to hear from us. Instead of making decisions on your own, ask what the Lord wants you to do, and have an open mind and heart to hear his response. Respond to trials and troubles as Jesus did. Hold your tongue, have empathy and compassion for others and a forgiving heart.

Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart,Psalm 37:4.

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Happiness is a Blessing, Not a Right.

Happiness is not a right. We don’t have the leeway to demand happiness from the Lord all the time. We will all go through trials and troubles where He tests our faith. In the times when we are happy and content, we must remember that happiness is a blessing.

If we look to the Word of God, we'll find stories of real people who lived on this really sinful planet, just like us. Job, Joseph, Paul, and others suffered greatlyr. But the joy they talk about it is rare and lasting.  

Jesus' brother, James,  who was himself martyred for faith said this about pure joy:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance," James 1:2-3

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A Prayer for True Happiness.

Sometimes we struggle so much, we don’t even know how to pray and ask to find true happiness. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the Lord’s voice in all the noise. Are you still struggling with being happy? Has life thrown you a mess you feel you will never get out of? Do you have a friend that is struggling and you wonder how could you possibly be happy when he or she is going through so much? Let’s pray. 

Dear Lord,
Sometimes when bad things are hitting from all angles, it is easy to ask can I be happy? Help me to realize that each trial and tribulation that I go through is meant for my higher good. It is meant for me to grow as a person and in my relationship with you. Please help me realize what is lacking when I am not feeling happy and use your loving hand to correct me. If I need to move in a different direction, please let me know. If it is something in my relationship with you (or lack thereof) convict me so that I can correct it. Restore the joy in my soul so that I am overflowing with joy in my relationship with you.  Guide me in your ways to live as a happier Christian and remind me that my happiness is a blessing and not a right. Help me to be calm, content and happy in my life so that I can be supportive when my friends and family are struggling. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen. 

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More from the Word on Happiness.

"But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed," 1 Peter 4:13

"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever," Psalm 16:11.

"Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling," 1 Chronicles 16:27

"Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful," Proverbs 16:20

Carrie Lowrance is a freelance writer and author. She has been featured on Huffington Post, Bon Bon Break, The Penny Hoarder, and ParentMap. She is also the author of two children’s books, "Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green)" and "Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine)." She also writes her own childcare blog at

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