We live in a you-do-you kind of world, where you just want to do more of what makes you happy. But what if happiness isn’t the best goal—or life advice—to follow? Turns out, Jesus never actually said to do more of what makes you happy. But hang with us—He said something way better.
Just as we sometimes confuse following Jesus with some self-salvation plan that will one day make our lives more perfect and trouble-free, other times we confuse the way of Jesus with the pursuit of happiness.
The mental math works like this: God is good and happiness is good, so God must want me to figure out how to be happy. Also, this thing, relationship, or way of life makes me happy, so God must want me to go get it for myself.
If you’re feeling cornered right about now, don’t. You’re not alone. This kind of thinking is natural. In his New Year, New Mercies Bible Plan, Dr. Paul David Tripp relates, “Wishing that you were more sovereign over people, situations, and locations than you will ever be is natural.” It’s natural to want your own way. It’s natural to try to arrange for your life so that you don’t experience discomfort. It’s natural to want Jesus, religion, or reading the Bible to make your life work out. It’s natural to go to entertainment, stuff, or substance to mute the noise when religion doesn’t work out. It’s natural to try to do whatever it takes to be happy.
It’s natural, but is it working? When we realize that at the end of every human attempt to secure our own happiness is less security and more unhappiness, that is when we can finally see Jesus for who He really is. Jesus is enough.
Jesus never said, “Go your way and do what makes you happy.” He said He is the way, the truth, and the life. He said no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Jesus is enough.
Jesus never said you can’t be happy. He did, however, imply that you can’t find real joy, deep happiness, and true restoration, or realize the forever-saving love of our heavenly Father without going through Him as if He alone is enough (John 15:1-17). Because Jesus is enough.
Thankfully, Jesus loves you so much that He gets in the way of your pursuit of happiness. He enters your world and gives up His life so you can finally give up on trying to figure out what makes you happy. To quote Dr. Tripp, “He is rescuing you from thinking that you can live the life you were meant to live while relying on the inadequate resources of your wisdom, experience, righteousness, and strength.”
That’s not natural. That’s supernatural. That’s who Jesus is—Jesus is enough.