David Murray

Professor, Pastor, Author

What Is Christian Happiness?

While almost everyone wants to be happy, there is little agreement about what happiness is. Just look at the diversity of these definitions below:

Happiness is to love and to work. – Freud.

Happiness is a warm puppy. – Charles Schulz, of Charlie Brown fame.

Happiness is like obscenity. We can’t define it, but we know it when we see it. – US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.

Happiness is the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. – Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of the How of Happiness.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi.

Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude. – Dale Carnegie.

Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. - Denis Waitley.

Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness. - Don Marquis.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. – Eleanor Roosevelt.

And if you want to really exhaust yourself, here are 99 Definitions of Happiness.

But what would a Christian definition of happiness look like? Is there such a thing as Christian happiness? If so, what would it include?

I believe there is such a thing as Christian happiness, quite distinct from any other kind of happiness, but the problem is that it is so multi-layered and multi-dimensional that it’s probably impossible to define it in one sentence. Believe me, I’ve tried. Consider even just the following sample sources of Christian happiness.

  • God is our perfect Father.
  • We know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
  • The Holy Spirit is sanctifying and empowering us.
  • Our sins are forgiven.
  • God lives in our hearts.
  • We are justified and adopted into God’s world-wide and heaven-wide family.
  • Everything is working together for our good.
  • God is our guard and guide
  • We have all the promises of God.
  • Jesus has prepared a place for us in heaven and will welcome us there.

How do you put all these rich ingredients into one simple recipe? But if you’re going to force me into a short one-sentence definition, then I’d say: Christian happiness is the grace of loving and being loved by Jesus who gave his life for me. That to me is the sum and summit of it all.

How would you define Christian happiness?

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About David Murray

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He blogs at HeadHeartHand . and you can follow him on Twitter @DavidPMurray .

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