Of course, it doesn't take a whole lot of reading in the Bible to find that this is a ridiculous notion.
"I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).That's just a cursory look. The Scriptures are full of them. (Think, for instance, "Beatitudes".) One of the key components of a genuine Christian is ... joy. No, that's not accurate -- full joy! It is a fruit (product) of the Spirit, a mark of "the kingdom of God", a result of answered prayer, a natural response to simply knowing Christ and hearing His Word. It was part of the very purpose for which Christ came.
"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11).
"I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22).
"Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).
"I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves" (John 17:11-13).
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Gal 5:22-23).
Now, to be quite honest, this joy is not ... worldly. It's not mere "happiness". To the ears of the normal listener, it can be, in fact, somewhat bizarre.
"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets" (Luke 6:22-23).These are kind of ... odd accounts of joy. We are to "leap for joy" when we are hated, reviled, and spurned. Our "sorrow will turn into joy". In Acts 13 we read "the disciples were filled with joy" right after we read that they were driven out of the district. Paul tells of the churches of Macedonia who gave generously "in a severe test of affliction" and "extreme poverty" out of "their abundance of joy". James tells us to count it all joy when we have trials. Now, come on ... does this make sense?
"Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy" (John 16:20).
And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Act 13:49-52).
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part (2 Cor 8:1-2).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2).
This is one of the key differences between the world's joy and the joy we are promised. Theirs works when times our pleasant. Ours is for all time. Theirs is temporary and fleeting. Ours is permanent. Theirs fails in bad times and ours is bolstered. How is this possible?
May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (Col 1:11-12).Brothers and sisters, we've all heard that Christianity is a downer and that living the Christian life is a killjoy. Don't believe it. We have, as in so many other cases, been lied to. We are offered the opportunity to "rejoice always" (1 Thess 5:16). Even that, my friends, is an understatement. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice" (Phil 4:4). Don't buy the lie. Let your joy be full!