If Christians aren’t the happiest people in the world then our religion probably isn’t true. Jesus Christ said He came to earth so we might have life in abundance. I cannot conceive of any version of abundance that does not include happiness. Not that anyone is happy all of the time. Of course not. That would actually be its own kind of hell, I think. But that’s an entirely different discussion.
So I’ve been thinking and researching and writing on happiness for a while now. And I think I’ve come up with something significant. I call it The Jesus Secret (TJS). It’s a project that can be described like this: a Christian personal evaluation and refocus project that uses principles found in Scripture and psychotherapy to guide readers toward a happier life.
My hope is that TJS becomes a book with an entry for every day of the year. Then when the year is over I’d like to publish a new edition for the new year. And then I’d like to keep doing this—forever. Because the journey toward happiness is a never ending one. Because happiness is a choice that must be made every day. And I don’t know about you but I need help making it—every single day.
So I launched this project on Monday via an email sent through Constant Contact. (Those participating will get an email every day). I asked a few friends if they’d be willing to read some of this material and give me their feedback as to whether or not TJS is an effective tool for happiness. I thought we’d start the project with a handful of people. We got more than that. The first email went out to 93 people, which surprised me. I thought we’d have maybe 30 because, honestly, there is a stigma attached to the pursuit of happiness. A lot of Christians view happiness as an unworthy goal in life. “God wants us to be holy not happy,” is what I hear most often.
This doesn’t surprise me. In some ways my critics are right. Nowhere in the Bible does God promise us a happy life. Not once does Jesus say, “Come, follow me, and I’ll lead you to happiness!” What he says is actually much darker. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
If that’s not the epitome of an unhappy sentence, I haven’t read one. Because while I can’t say for sure (I wasn’t there) I’m fairly certain no one in the ancient world picking up a Roman cross was happy about it. Crosses were heavy, and when you put yours down, that meant it was time to die. So if I’m going to talk about happiness within a Christian context, then I do have to deal with this whole business of following Jesus and denying ourselves. Which I will do on this blog in the coming days.
But here’s where we are today. This morning’s email went out to 111 people and new people are getting added constantly. So this tells me that while some folks are skeptical of the project there are a lot of people who need and want the project.
And that makes me happy.
So, I’ll stop here for now but in the coming days continue to elaborate on the ideas contained within TJS and why I believe they’re so needed.
Peace and Love.
P.S. You can subscribe to TJS here