Debunking the Myth of Happiness

Allison Barron

“You will be happier once you’re a Christian.”

This is a seemingly great way to convince people, especially children, that God loves them and it therefore makes sense to change their life for Him. You’re promising a future filled with happiness and joy and unicorns and rainbows and 1-Up Mushrooms? Sign me up.

The reality is, yes, life might be better in the sense that you are living for a larger purpose and you have found hope and a future in a relationship with Christ, but God doesn’t promise life will be easier or happier when we follow Him. In fact, the Bible says just the opposite; we will face tribulation (John 16:33), walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), and experience temptation (James 1:2). We are warned, “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

Actually, I dare to say that if you aren’t experiencing difficulties in your life following God, you’re probably doing something wrong!

These promises of Power Flowers can be detrimental to someone who is just learning what it means to follow God. Once they realize that adjusting their lives to God’s standards is actually difficult and this whole religion thing isn’t fun anymore, those promises of happiness disappear. If we don’t have a firm foundation of what being a Christian actually means and realize that happiness is not the point, our determination to follow Christ will shatter.

I forget that fact a lot; I forget that happiness isn’t the purpose of my life. I forget it when I’m running late and the driver ahead of me is traveling at five miles per hour. I forget it when someone makes a rude comment on one of my articles. I forget it when I’m feeling lonely.

I just want to feel good. Most of my day-to-day decisions revolve around that desire. When I feel hungry, I eat something. When I feel sick, I take medication or sleep. When I feel sad, I play a video game to distract myself or talk to a friend to cheer me up. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those actions. I’m not a masochist, and I don’t recommend that lifestyle to anyone. To be a stable, caring person, I need to take care of myself.

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