“For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:21 ESV)
Everyone wants to be happy—and we all chase it differently. Binge netflixing, model plane building, craft coffee drinking, the list goes on. How do Christians chase down gladness in a distinctly Christian way?
The world has their modes of happiness transportation. Money, technology, sex, media, food, etc.—these aren’t evil things, they are meant to bring joy. God has given us a universe-load of joy. The entire created order is built with a mechanism to produce soul-thrills. Stars. Steak. Sunsets. Shall I go on? “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4–5). We can enjoy this world, not in a shy awkwardness but in a bold, pure, heir-of-all-that-is-ness in Christ. The Lord Jesus lived on this planet for thirty-three years. He didn’t monk himself. He ate, drank, went to weddings, fished, read, and more. We learn from Jesus. He lived a faithful life, a fun life—a life that honored God. And he made all of that possible for us.
The Venue of Joy
When it comes to wrangling joy from the herd of the earth, there is a tension we must watch. The created things aren’t the ultimate joy. Any created thing isn’t meant to serve as the Joy of joys. For the Christian, our heart is glad “in him.” God is our ultimate joy. And being glad in God is the fruit of being “in Christ.” The Triune God is the venue of inextinguishable joy.
The Psalmist makes the connection quite plain for us. Joy comes from trusting in the “holy name.” His holy name. YHWH. The LORD. The I AM. Jesus. The Alpha and Omega. We trust God in, through, and by the gospel of grace. And trusting in the name of the Lord our God will vaporize anxiety, depression, and affections for slimy idols and warty sins. I totally believe that. Gospel doctrine in the heart will set the gospel culture of your life, your mind, your mouth. The gospel is set to phaser. But the key is we must trust him. Totally.
The Way Out Is Down
Anti-trust brings anxiety; it’s the hoarding of my burdens, the not casting of my cares upon him because I don’t think that he cares for me. But clearly, gloriously, he does. Pride is the reason for the heart in panic. If I doctrinally believe I can trust God but I’m practically in a panic—my doctrine isn’t real to me. We must always remember that everything is in the Lord’s hand. And when that reality takes root, humility and happiness, the fruit of a joyous trust in the omnitrustable God will abound and we will offload our cares on the broad shoulders of our Christ. The way out of our problems is down—humbly falling before Jesus.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:6–7).
Because he cares, happiness is here. The blood encrusted cross and the empty garden tomb are inerrant proof of God’s caring trustworthiness for us sinners. Like the old song says, “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Lord, help be me believe today—and tomorrow, and every millisecond that follows, that we our made lastingly glad in you.