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?

  • Bob Kuo

    However we define Christian happiness, it is different from any other definition because it is based on an objective work external to us. The source of Christian happiness is God’s gracious justification of the ungodly. The source of *my* Christian happiness is God’s gracious justification of *this* ungodly sinner.

  • http://www.jonstallings.com Jon Stallings

    I guess the Bible most often refers to it as peace and joy. However it is still very hard to explain. When your world seems to be falling around how do you have happiness? To me it is the ability to lay down at night and relax with a deep knowing that despite what my circumstances look like God will see me through.

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  • Shishya

    I am grateful for this post for stimulating me to think on this subject. I do believe that Christian happiness is multidimensional. Here’s my understanding of Christian happiness in a short single sentence “Christian happiness is knowing, making much of and experiencing all that God has made available to us have in Christ.”
    God bless.

    • http://coloredopinions.blogspot.com Vincent Harris

      Happiness is central in writings of many greek philosophers. That’s why Francis Hutcheson writes ‘The intention of moral philosophy is to direct men to that course of action which tends most effectually to promote their greatest happiness.’ It’s also why we find the phrase ‘pursuit of happiness’ in the declaration of independence. It’s most likely the reason Jonathan Edwards preached his first sermon on Christian happiness and why Samuel Davies preached his sermon ‘An Enrollment of Our Names in Heaven—the Noblest Source of Joy’. When looking at the text of that sermon (Luke 10) by Samuel Davies I identify also another source of happiness and that is the joy of Jesus: ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children’. In retrospect it’s obvious Jesus is here talking not just about these 72. It reminds me of Bavinck’s phrase in his dogmatics: ‘In Christ, in the middle of history God has created an organic center; from there the circles are getting drawn ever wider, on which the light of revelation shines..’ The joy when singing psalm 87: The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”
      As they make music they will sing,
      “All my fountains are in you.”

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      I like that Shishya. Thanks.