I ran across this on USA Today’s website. Here’s the link to the article. You might want to follow some of the embedded links on that page as there are a number of related articles referencing this question. Does faith make you happy? It’s an interesting question with a unique set of components. How do you define happiness? Is happiness merely an emotional response to temporary surroundings? Is happiness a choice we make in an effort to control our emotions?
As I ponder the evidence, I’m really not sure if faith makes one happy. From a personal perspective, I am a person of faith. To be totally upfront with you, there have been plenty of times that I’ve not been happy. Happiness is such an illusive concept or feeling, I’m not sure it is a feeling or emotional response maintained through faith. But in saying this, I have to interject that if you were to substitute the word happiness for joy, then you have something. I believe faith does bring joy, which is completely different from happiness.
Let me explain. I don’t see happiness as something God promises for His followers. Yet, He does promise joy. In fact, joy is a byproduct of a right relationship with Christ. Scripture informs us that joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit – the evidence of God’s Spirit working in and through us.
Here’s the difference: happiness is tied to circumstance. You have good days, you have bad days and your happy meter will reflect the moment. Joy on the other hand is a reflection (fruit) of my ongoing, abiding, and intimate relationship with Christ. I can have good days and bad days and still remain joyful because my joy is not determined by my circumstance. It is determined by my relationship with Christ. I may not always be happy, but can always have joy!