We’ve all met this person. They profess belief in Jesus but live like they haven’t been born again into new, abundant life. Instead of dispensing the goodness of God, they struggle to sense God. Worship, prayer, Bible reading are all duties to be checked off of the list, and when they’re not the unhappy Christians are quick to heap condemnation on themselves.
Somehow the free gift of God’s grace has become a burden of works to prove that they are worthy of God’s love. Life, for this unhappy Christian, is supposed to be found in Jesus but they can’t quite figure out how to grasp Him and His ways.
Does any of this describe your current situation? Do you stand through Sunday morning worship with a blank look on your face? Is the Bible your least favorite book to read?
What do we do when we find ourselves in this unhappy position? Let’s see what the famous American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor A.W. Tozer says about becoming a happy Christian.
6 Keys to Christian Happiness from A.W. Tozer
I selected the following quotes for this post while reading The Crucified Life by A.W. Tozer. Though I have come to believe that the key to Christian happiness comes first from your vision of living the Christian life (a point not explicitly found in Tozer’s wonderful book), I think that these 6 keys below are certainly means to living out that vision.
1. Get rid of distractions
Whatever hinders us in our journey must be dealt a deathblow.
2. Sustainable relationship with Jesus
Quite simply put, a Christian is one who sustains a right relationship with Jesus Christ. A Christian enjoys a kind of union with Jesus Christ superseding all other relationships.
3. Give God everything
If I empty out half of my life, God can only fill half. And my spiritual life would be diluted with the things of the natural man. This seems to be the condition of many Christians today. They are willing to get rid of some things in their lives, and God comes and fills them as far as He can. But until they are willing to give up everything and put everything on the altar, as it were, God cannot fill their entire lives.
One of the strange things about God is that He will come in as far as we allow Him. I have often said that a Christian is as full of the Holy Spirit as he wants to be. We can beg to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We can talk about it, but until we are willing to empty ourselves, we will never have the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God will fill as much of us as we allow Him to fill.
The carnal man is the immature Christian. He is no longer a natural man, for he has been renewed by the grace of God and is in a state of grace, but he is not spiritual. He is halfway in between the two. He has been regenerated but is not advancing in his spiritual life. He is not influenced or led by the Holy Spirit but rather is controlled by his lower nature.
4. Avoid developing a hard heart
To continue without progress year after year is to develop a sort of chronic heart disease. Your heart becomes harder and harder as time passes. The best time to plunge into the deeper spiritual life is when you are a young Christian and have enthusiasm and can form deep-seated habits.
The Holy Spirit never fills a man’s head. The Holy Spirit fills his heart.
5. Don’t fake it with externalism
When you do not have anything real inside of you, you try to get something on the outside that suggests something real. It is a well-known fact that when the fire goes out in the furnace they paint the outside to make it look as if the fire was still there.
…it is entirely possible to put on the garb of the nun, live in a nunnery and still be worldly inside. It is possible to be religious and not forsake the world, and it is possible to forsake the world in body but not in spirit. It is never possible, however, to forsake the world in spirit if it is not forsaken in practice.
6. Call sin what it is and repent
François Fénelon made an interesting observation: “We are strangely ingenious in perpetually seeking our own interest; and what the world does nakedly and without shame, those who desire to be devoted to God do also, but in a refined manner.”
First, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this post. I know you could have been doing a million other things but you chose to read this. I hope that God has blessed your time here and that you have found a key or keys to becoming a happy (or happier!) Christian.
Here’s a closing prayer from A.W. Tozer:
Father, I’m sick of being a common Christian. I am sick of this mediocrity, of being halfway to where I ought to be, of seeing other Christians happy when I am not. I am weary of the whole thing. I want to go on, and I want to know You.
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Also published on Medium.