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Question

I know some truly happy people who have little interest in religion. How come they have such wonderful lives? They are happy, kind, considerate etc.

Answer

Thank you so much for your honest spiritual enquiry. You have made an interesting observation which has led to a good question; a question which someone in the Bible also asks, which we’ll explore in a moment.

In answering this question I will endeavour to explain that happiness can be experienced by all people according to God’s common grace which He shows to all of his creation as they live in it, with the note that when the pursuit of happiness is greater than the pursuit of God it becomes an idol which ultimately leads to God’s judgement. I’ll also comment on the truth that religion and in particular Christianity doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness, neither does the absence of religion necessarily lead to depression but that a life committed to trusting in and living for Jesus Christ no matter what circumstances are faced will lead to an eternity of blessing and joy in Heaven.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth for humanity to live in and enjoy under God’s control. He created humanity in his image and gave them the command to be fruitful and multiply filling the earth (Genesis 1:28-30). In this passage God said to Adam and Eve that the earth was there for them to work in, enjoy and eat from. Now despite the world being cursed with sin and death because of Adam’s disobedience humanity is still made in the image of God and is still commanded to do the same things. Therefore, creation and all that is in it is there for us to enjoy. People find happiness in all sorts of different ways.

The problem is when we make the pursuit of happiness more important than the pursuit of God; when our love for this world and the things in it, including ourselves, overcomes our love for God. God has given us the command to love Him with all of our heart and to love others like we love ourselves but everyone has fallen short of keeping these commands. While rejecting God and worship of Him we take up worship of other things and find happiness in them. Living life for ourselves will lead to subjective happiness because we are pleasing our own sinful nature. This is Paul’s argument at the end of Romans 1, which I encourage you to read.

In Psalm 73 Asaph notices that ‘the wicked’ (the general term used to describe those who rebel against God) seem to be successful in life and seem not to have any worries in life. He doesn’t understand why this is as they have rejected the true God of Israel. Then in the second half of the Psalm he begins to understand the bigger picture of the situation. He realises that no matter how people live in this life, if they have rejected God then they will face his judgement at the end of life.

I am not saying that your friends are wicked in the contemporary meaning of the word but the Bible is clear that all who reject Him, however happy or good their lives are, will suffer his eternal judgement.

For God is coming to judge and Matthew 24:37-39 describes what the scene will be like on that day.

"For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."

People will be living life in their own way and enjoying themselves as if there is nothing wrong, but then suddenly Jesus will return as judge.

The point to make here is that the Bible doesn’t teach that Christianity promises happiness. We are not to become Christians so we can be happy. Christians should be happy because of the objective joy in knowing our sins are forgiven and eternal life is secure in Jesus but the Christian is called to a life of discipleship and sometimes suffering. The comfort for the Christian is found in Romans 8:18:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

In summary, God wants people to enjoy life but to enjoy it within the context of the worship and knowledge of Him. A life that is lived in rebellion to God and in the pursuit of happiness at the expense of following Jesus may appear to be wonderful and many people can be kind and considerate, but their rejection of the gospel will ultimately lead to eternal judgement. By living for Christ, life can be enjoyed in the right context and can be in many ways be more fruitful.

Here are some more Bible verses for your further consideration:

  • Matthew 6:25-33
  • Matthew 5:45

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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