If you accept Jesus and become a Christian, will God make you happy?

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

This is a wonderful, wonderful post from Amy Hall, who writes for the Stand to Reason blog.

She writes:

I had a brief interaction with an atheist on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that unexpectedly turned to the issue of suffering when she said:

You clearly never had a time you were hurt. I don’t mean sick. I don’t mean heart broken. I mean literally a near death experience or rape or abusive relationship…. You can keep floating on a [expletive] cloud thinking Jesus will do everything for you but it’s a lie. What makes you so special?

That surprised me at first because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the tweet she was responding to, and I was confused as to why she would assume I’d never been through anything traumatic. But then in subsequent tweets, when she revealed she had been raped, it became clear that her trauma had played a central role in her becoming an outspoken, obviously angry “antitheist.” She’s a self-described antitheist now because she thinks Christianity teaches Jesus “will do everything for you” to give you a perfect life, and now she knows that’s a lie. The rape proved her understanding of Christianity false.

So it made sense for her to reason that since I believe Christianity is true, I must still be under the delusion that Jesus is making my life special, which means I obviously never encountered any evil or suffering to shake that delusion.

All right, readers. I don’t want any of you to be thinking that if you become a Christian that these things should be expected to happen:

  • you will feel happy all the time
  • you will be able to sense God’s secret plan for your life through your feelings
  • God’s secret plan for your life will automatically work, even though it’s crazy
  • God will give you a perfect spouse and lots of money without you having to study anything hard, or do any hard work
  • you get permission to do things that that make you happy, even if they are expressly forbidden by the Bible
  • you don’t have to do anything that makes you feel bad (e.g. – talk to non-Christians about Christian truth claims), because God wants you to be happy

No! Where do people get this idea that if they convert to Christianity, then God will become their cosmic butler?

Amy has the answer: (emphasis mine)

Hear me, everyone: This is a failure of the church.

A friend of mine who was deeply suffering once said to me that many Christians are in for “an epic letdown” when they realize their preconceived notions about what God is expected to do for us are false. Pastors who preach a life-improvement Jesus are leading people down this precarious path to disillusionment.

If suffering disproves your Christianity, you’ve missed Christianity. The Bible is filled with the suffering of those whom God loves. The central event of the Bible is one of suffering. Love involves suffering. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” That means suffering.

It’s the church. It’s the focus on happy things and having of happy feelings and happy songs and preaching designed to make us feel good. I would say the comforting devotional reading doesn’t help to make us any tougher or more practical, either. That happy-clappy stuff just gives you a false sense of safety about your precarious situation. God’s job is not to prevent you from suffering. In fact, even if you make really smart, practical decisions, you can expect to get creamed anyway.

Please take 15 minutes and read the book of 1 Peter in the New Testament.

Here’s a summary from GotQuestions.org:

Purpose of Writing: 1 Peter is a letter from Peter to the believers who had been dispersed throughout the ancient world and were under intense persecution. If anyone understood persecution, it was Peter. He was beaten, threatened, punished and jailed for preaching the Word of God. He knew what it took to endure without bitterness, without losing hope and in great faith living an obedient, victorious life. This knowledge of living hope in Jesus was the message and Christ’s example was the one to follow.

Brief Summary: Though this time of persecution was desperate, Peter reveals that it was actually a time to rejoice. He says to count it a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ, as their Savior suffered for them. This letter makes reference to Peter’s personal experiences with Jesus and his sermons from the book of Acts. Peter confirms Satan as the great enemy of every Christian but the assurance of Christ’s future return gives the incentive of hope.

Practical Application: The assurance of eternal life is given to all Christians. One way to identify with Christ is to share in His suffering. To us that would be to endure insults and slurs from those who call us “goodie two shoes” or “holier than thou.” This is so minor compared to what Christ suffered for us on the Cross. Stand up for what you know and believe is right and rejoice when the world and Satan aim to hurt you.

Recently, I blogged about how suffering is compatible with an all-powerful God, so you might want to read that too if you missed it.

8 thoughts on “If you accept Jesus and become a Christian, will God make you happy?”

  1. I would go so far as to say that if you do not have any haters in this depraved culture, you probably are not saved.

    And if you are saved, you are not much sanctified. We have all been there, even I fell for it a little bit when I should have known better.

    If you haven’t been de-friended or de-familied over child sacrifice or gay “marriage,” or in many families here in the West, merely becoming an authentic salt and light Christian, then that is definitely weak sauce.

    God WILL make us happy though – in the next life.

    Like

  2. Unfortunately, the church has done very little to provide deep theological training to its young people, instead focusing on fun and a vaguely spiritual thought of the day for more than a generation now. Thus, the most common religious beliefs of young people raised in the church are not recognizable as historic Christianity. Instead, it’s moralistic, therapeutic deism (MTD). This is the theology of God as a fairy in the sky to grant your wishes when you pray if you’re a generally good person. This is completely opposed to actual Christian teaching. Yet what most kids get out of Sunday school is that they should behave themselves and that God is there to help them. Most of the “Bible Stories” taught have been turned into isolated moralistic stories about how God will help them if they are good. It’s no wonder so many kids grow up thinking God will make everything all right and giving up this notion when life gets hard.

    Christianity is not a deal with God to have an easy, happy life in exchange for prayer and being a good person. But far too many in the church don’t know that. They give up their Christianity when they encounter difficulties, but in reality they never had it. They had a cheap knock off that they thought was the real thing. Yet because they think they “tried” Christianity and it didn’t work, they are quite reluctant to consider Christianity in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This women’s reaction is the logical result of so much Word-Faith garbage being preached in the West, a message which tells people that when you become a Christian, you have a “right” to be “blessed”.
    In my opinion the Word-Faith movement preaches a lie as it tells people that a Christian, using the magic wand of faith/will-power, can live in Paradise in this present world, not touched by the problems of life. This contradicts the clear teaching of Jesus and the apostles who declared that there would be tribulations and persecution. Scripture tells us that Paradise is in the next world. The Word-Faith movement consistently ignores the doctrine of the Fall, even though this is the most empirical doctrine in Scripture, confirmed every morning by headline titles in our newspapers. In my opinion Word-Faith doctrine is little more than pagan philosophy of positive thinking, gussied up with a flimsy “Evangelical” makeover (for marketing purposes). Ultimately positive thinking (exalting the will) has its source in the thought of the atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (the same who claimed that “God is dead!”) who proposed the concept of “will to power”. Just for fun, when reading/listening to Word Faith propaganda, replace the word “faith” with the word “will” (or “will-power”) and the link with positive social thought becomes clear.
    And when a Christian has bought into such lies, then when facing a hard choice, such as staying committed to the faith (and sticking to the morality and intellectual commitments that go along with it, and then taking a hit as a result) or making a small compromise in order to keep one’s blessings, then the decision makes itself… Compromise becomes the ‘natural’ choice since you’ve been told for so many years that you have “a right to be happy”…
    In Word Faith thinking, God is transformed into little more than a vending machine, and must give us EVERYTHING we want (if we put in our 25 cents of “faith”).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Often all doctrines of error and extreme have a level of truth. It is even why false religions have an allure there is a point of truth here or there.

    Many false Christian ideas err in ignoring seeking God and his will.

    In theory if you truly seek God and followed his will then you could proclaim what God wanted to do and it would happen. To assume any fallen person even when regenerated will be so good all the time is very presumptuous because we all miss the mark of perfection.

    Being poor as was taught years ago is not a sign of being good before God. Nor is wealth a mark of spirituality.

    But if more Christians studies ideas of social structure as the Judaic society practised of sharing in the community, helping others,. As a collective we are better off and will have a support structure to help mentor us when times are hard so we don’t feel all alone

    But to say we can live in an isolated view hoarding goods to ourselves and to say nothing bad will occur is wrong.

    But as a Christian I make far less dangerous choices so I naturally face less problems in life. I don’t waste my money. I never have to figure out how to get home or where to sleep after a night of excess drugs or alcohol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are also those that deny a tribulation of substance will eve happen and believe we will collectively being ushering in a kingdom of God to this world.

    We can work to improve our world and help others. But I accept that those that love themselves and the ways of Satan. I will do as much as possible to take all for themselves and to try and establish Mo re of his ways

    Like

  6. I was giggling with joy when I was born again way back in the summer of 1998, but that was immediately followed by a voice in my head telling me that it was only a matter of time before I “tripped up” again. My faith-walk has been one of almost constant guilt and fear, so much so that I now have symptoms that mirror PTSD.

    I know the Word says to knock until the door is opened, but my knuckles are getting bloody.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom.8:1).
    Want proof? He is risen. That means ALL sin, committed by EVERYONE, past present or future, has been paid for by His finished work on the Cross. Even one unpaid-for sin would have been enough to keep Him in the grave. BUT HE ROSE.
    Does that mean it’s okay for us to sin? Of course not. But it does mean we are eternally secure. Receive His perfect love for you. Receive a love that will never fail you, that will never change toward you. “There is no fear in love. For perfect love casts out fear.” (1 Jn.4:18).

    Liked by 1 person

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