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Christians Aren't Always Happy

Following Jesus transforms our lives—but it doesn't mean we'll always have a smile on our face.


You may have come here this morning seeking happiness. In one sense, how could you not? Seeking happiness is as natural for us as our desire for lunch, or even taking the next breath. It's what we do as people. We want to be happy.

For many people, happiness is assumed to be the special purview of religion: maybe not all religions, not so much Marxism or Islam, but the more interior religions like Buddhism or Christianity. I mean, for how many people in the world today is the most powerful religious symbol not the Star of David or the Cross, but the smile? That's what many people today think of religion as being all about.

How would you finish this sentence: "Happiness is … ?" Well, happiness is when you're blessed and you know it; it's when you notice that you're well, and your prospects look good. Happiness is, for so many, the combination of something like a healthy body and warm relationships with others whom you care about. Many people today advocate Christianity as a way to that happiness, and there is something that I think is straightforwardly right about that. Christianity is not, fundamentally, a kind of Buddhist killing of your own desires to the point of enlightening you more and more until you finally achieve the realization that you don't exist. No, we entirely disagree with that. There is no imaginary vanishing game in following Jesus. This world really exists, and we do exist, and what's more—according to the Bible—we always will exist. We will not dissolve into some nirvana. We will exist forever in God's image. God has given us his Word and he has sent his Son so that we could be liberated from our own self-defeating, self-centeredness to rightly relate to him, and having come ...

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Mark Dever is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and president of 9Marks.

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II. The enemy is real

III. The Lord is more faithful than we may want

IV. Suffering follows sin

V. Hope for the future of God's people