To the world, Christians largely appear like morose, morbid, head-hanging, downcast, guilt-ridden sheep come in from the rain. Some Christians are convinced of this too, that the progressing Christian must continually remain under the devastating knowledge of sin. So mostly the informed Christian spends his time crying, thrashing, beating himself up, shaking his head profusely, avoiding with great panic all sorts of situations that are probably harmless.
Preachers speak about “joy” but this appears an elusive concept, or at very best a far different thing than happiness. They say joy is permanent, happiness is fleeting; joy is reliable, happiness is unstable; joy is real, happiness is a delusion. But shouldn’t a Christian safely be able to say “I am happy” without any sense of irony or guilt? Can’t a Christian, without fear of theological rebuke, proudly proclaim, “I’ve found happiness” . . . ?