More than Happy

Praise God for His Joy | Liz Curtis Higgs

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit,… (Luke 10:21)

Imagine Jesus overflowing with joy! Did He have a broad smile? A deep laugh? Boundless energy? Contagious enthusiasm?

Seriously. What did His joy look like?

Here’s a clue: the Greek word agalliaó in this verse literally means “to leap with joy.” So, Jesus wasn’t sitting or standing. He was…well, leaping. Jumping up and down.


Then Jesus put His joy into words: “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. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do’” (Luke 10:21).

The Greek word here, eudokia, means “good pleasure.” What made Jesus happy was seeing His Father happy.

This verse in a nutshell?
God, filled with God, praised God, and God was pleased.

So, is everything about God? Yes, it is.

He created all things—including us—for His pleasure, His joy, and His delight (Revelation 4:11 KJV). This is His party, from start to finish, and we’re blessed to be His invited guests.

The question we need to ask is not “Am I happy?” It’s “Is God happy?”

He Is Worthy of Our Praise on Pinterest

The answer is YES. God is more than happy, He is deeply pleased and filled with joy, and for the most unfathomable reasons. Here are three of them.

God the Father was happy to see His Son suffer.
How can that be possible? Yet, the Bible assures us, “the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10 NASB). The Hebrew word chaphets makes the meaning clear: “to desire, take pleasure in, delight in.”

God wasn’t simply willing and able—He was delighted to sacrifice His Son. It gave Him pleasure.

Oh, Father, help us understand. How can this be true?
Because of His love for us. Only because of His love.

God the Son was happy to suffer.
Though it boggles the mind, it’s right there in His Word: “For the joy set before him he endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2). No getting around it. This Greek word chara means “joy, delight, gladness.”

What was the joy He held on to, the delight that sustained Him, the gladness that saw Him through?

We were, beloved. We were His joy. The thought of our redemption gave the Lord such delight that He gladly endured the most painful death imaginable, knowing what waited on the other side: our freedom.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus.

The third reason we know God is happy?

With JOY in Israel

The Holy Spirit is our joy and strength.
He defines joy, embodies joy, and makes joy a reality for all who know and love the Lord.

All these smiling women pictured above? They are the trustworthy souls who traveled to Israel with me four years ago. Now, look in the bottom right corner. The woman with the beautiful olive skin and the glorious smile is our Israeli tour guide, Hedva. It’s a perfect name for her joyful self, since chedvah is the Hebrew word for “joy”—as in, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Knowing we bring Him joy (so amazing), we can depend on Him for all the strength and protection we need. We stand firmly in the circle of His arms. We are perfectly safe in His mighty embrace.

No need to fear, “Is God happy with me?” God is overjoyed with you. He proved it on the cross and declared it in His Word.

Father, I am overwhelmed by this truth. Even when we’re not happy with ourselves, you are happy with us. And that deep and abiding happiness we long for? It can only be found in You. Because of the strength of Your joy, we can stand, even leap without fear. To the glory of your Son, amen and amen.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

What did you discover in our study this week? Perhaps something God had just for you. Bless you for sharing your thoughts via the link below.

Finally, I must beg your forgiveness (again) for being late with my weekly post (again). Finishing my next book has consumed my every waking hour this spring. Now that she’s done, I can’t wait for you to read It’s Good to Be Queen, coming this July. Thanks for your patience. What a joy you are to me!

Your grateful sister, Liz

Your sister, Liz Curtis Higgs BibleGateway Blogger Grid I am honored to write for P31 Ministries I love being part of (in)courage!

27 Responses to More than Happy

  1. Cheryl Lambert April 16, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    You never cease to amaze me! This was what I needed most to hear. I feel like I am a disappointment to God for not living up to what he wants for me by making decisions that were sinful. I have had a problem believing that he would send his son to die for me and to hear that They were Happy to do it for little ol’ sinful me. But hearing this today gives me a new outlook. God bless you Liz!!!

  2. Suzette Sand April 16, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Dearest Liz, God did it again through you. Tomorrow I face a chemical stress test and echo-cardiogram. This is just another physical challenge since June and He has branded on my heart that HE can be trusted, is faithful and NOTHING takes Him by surprise.

    To know that tomorrow (and today) I stand firmly in the circle of His arms and am totally safe in His embrace, reminds me that THAT is THE most important thing to remember. And THAT gives me peace which will in turn allow me to speak into other lives tomorrow …… whether with words or countenance.

    I love you, Sister. Looking forward to reading your new book.

    Know that whenever your posts arrive it’s God’s perfect timing in our lives.


  3. Amber Paulsen April 16, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    Praise God for HIS joy!!!! THIS is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for following the Holy Spirit’s lead, dear Liz. Your article brought tears to my eyes thinking about God’s joy. I daily pray for others and ministries and the body of Christ. Two days ago I sensed God saying something like “Pray for you, what do you want for you”. I said something like “Please bless my husband and I to be able to do full time ministry of music and writing, sharing our testimonies, loving the poor, to reach millions of people all over the world”. Yesterday an established author emailed me and asked me to consider co-authoring a book with her. (I’ve never written a book). My head dropped in my hands, tears filled my eyes, and I said “Praise You, God!”, then I went in my prayer room (a.k.a tiny laundry room) and fell flat face to the ground and said over and over “not my will but Your will be done” over and over.

    I’ve wondered if something is wrong with me why I don’t feel overly excited about the opportunity to write a book. I know God has called me to write, so I should have LOTS of joy (right?). What helps me is to think of the women’s hearts that need to hear the message the Lord wants to use ~ His story of a redeemed life. Your article helped me to think about God’s joy in my obedience. And I’m praying I can have more joy, too. I greatly appreciate your prayers. God bless you, Liz and those you minister to.

  4. Marsha Numerich April 16, 2015 at 11:52 am #


    Thank you so much for this – we are in the moving stage of our next season (packing – timing – and trying to fit it into a work schedule) I was feeling a bit tarried as I began reading. These were the words of perfect peace I so needed. I so appreciate you and if the email may have seemed late it was perfect timing for me. Thank you again.

  5. Paula Timpson April 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Yes Joy is deep and always there for those who trust and love the Lord

  6. Pam Erselius April 16, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Thank you for these uplifting words. “So, is everything about God? Yes, it is.” I love this because it is His permanent joy that is a place where I can go when trials overwhelm me. And knowing that He is OVERJOYED with having me in His family refreshes my soul like a soothing balm. I pray that we can all truly believe and remember this constantly.
    PS I didn’t realize that Jesus literally leapt for joy. This calls me to a deeper sense of who He is and I want to leap with Him!

  7. Ann April 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    One of my favorite articles EVER!!! Thank you for blessing us today.

  8. rose April 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    My heart resonates with yours! There are way too many Christians who are not experiencing the abundant life that is so available to us. BTW, Liz, I just heard you in maryland last weekend. It was so nice to meet you!

  9. Regi April 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    We are studying some hard things at church about what it means to be a Christian the things God calls us to do and be. Sometimes in the hard stuff we forget the best stuff that in all things He’s pleased with us He loves us no matter what and He paid it all. Thanks Liz for the reminder!

  10. Susan G. April 16, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Oh don’t we all need His joy these days… I have to pray for it on many days, and God is always faithful to hear and answer my prayer.
    This was great Liz.
    Your blog is my fave!
    Congratulations on your newest book! Can’t wait to read it!

  11. Brandi Luiz April 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    You! !! Are a treasure and joy! So blessed that God gave us you!

  12. Diana April 16, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    Thank you!
    I am thinking on what you said, and although I knew the verses, it was today’s blog that made me pause. GOD the Father was Pleased to have Jesus crushed. Quite the thought.

    I am Pleased GOD sent JESUS; I am Pleased Jesus was willing and obedient; but to really think GOD was Pleased with sending JESUS to the horrific death – for us all – me… it surely does cause me to see again the LOVE OF GOD!!! It is a powerful mental picture and truth, thank you for pushing us to think and accept what GOD has told us in HIS WORD.

    I am glad to be taught, and to have my mind pushed to new levels. Thank you for your faithful teaching, examining GOD’s WORD that I might see through your blog!

    Again, Thank you!!!

  13. Rebecca Horton April 16, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    Love the description of Jesus’s joy – leaping and jumping – the joy of The Lord is my strength daily – thank you for writing this.

  14. sharon April 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

    Thank you, Liz! I needed that reminder today that even when I am not happy with myself, He is; and when I don’t love myself, well, He still does! This brings me such joy! So excited about your new book. All of your books have come at just the right time in my life and I have been blessed by them all! Praying that you are not stressed, but filled with joy as you once again let Him use you to finish another book that touches us.

  15. Decima April 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

    Isaiah 61:3Amplified Bible (AMP)
    To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

    Nehemiah 8:9-12Amplified Bible (AMP)
    9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all of them, This day is holy to the Lord your God; mourn not nor weep. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law.
    10 Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.
    11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, Be still, for the day is holy. And do not be grieved and sad.
    12 And all the people went their way to eat, drink, send portions, and make great rejoicing, for they had understood the words that were declared to them.

    Liz, I recently accepted an invitation to speak at a local church ladies’ ministry event and I will be sharing about “Joy”. It is amazing how God keeps putting “Joy” in my path since I believe that is the subject He chose for me to share. Your message today is another confirmation. Thank you for sharing this great truth. God has been so gracious to encourage me. In years gone by I have struggled with looking for joy in my circumstances, from other people, from possessions and none of that was the source. Finally in His Word there was revelation about joy for me, eternal joy. The more intimate I grow with Jesus and the more I accept His love and freedom, the more of His joy I experience. What love is this, that my Jesus died for me?
    Zephaniah 3:17Amplified Bible (AMP)
    The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.

  16. Vita April 16, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    Hi Liz! Thank God you’re ok. I was concerned when the Bible Study didn’t arrive. So happy to hear about the new book!! Can’t wait. Was able to bless a friend with one of your books recently…she can’t stop talking about it. This post is amazing. I can’t rap my mind around it. Thank you so much. I’m praying for it to sink into all of our hearts.

  17. Colly April 17, 2015 at 7:42 am #

    Read your message via Proverbs 31 and was so blessed that I searched out your blog….so glad I did. I’ve read your books and been entertained by them but your down to earth, gut wrenching words of encouagment and speaking the truth in love was liberating! Keep sharing, we, all who have come before and will follow, need the words Jesus puts into your heart to share. You are a might warrior for sure!

  18. Kathy April 17, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    Hey chicks! God is so good! It’s a great day to be alive!

  19. Kathryn April 17, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Thank you so much for these words. I just happened to read another devotional post that had this link. I was curious about it, and -BAM!
    God nailed me… again. I am a stay-at-home Mom homeschooling my twin boys. I’m fighting breast cancer , but my biggest battle is my mind and emotions. I can’t sleep at night because of the battles. The Lord is so good to me though because, through messages like this, I see His love and care for me in ever new ways. I cried too for the same reason as one lady below said. I’m having a hard time seeing myself through the loving eyes of Jesus. I know He loves me, but when I’m in the fray it’s sometimes hard to see it because I’ve failed him so many times. Thank you for sharing His love with me. He is JOY!

  20. Carolyn Rogers April 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    I’ve historically struggled with joy. I typically describe myself as the “glass have empty type” or pragmatist. I realize I need to stop doing that because what joy to have the Lord of Hosts, the creator of the universe, love me like that! Thank you, Liz!

    I’m reading this to the ladies at our women’s retreat next weekend! (Hope you don’t mind.)

    You have blessed many with this post today.

  21. Cathy Gross April 18, 2015 at 6:35 am #

    Oh, Liz! Smiled when I read your post. So thought provoking and profound. God’s joy at suffering for our lost souls. If He had not said it so clearly, one would think the idea is insane.
    During worship at church, some of us cannot help but leap for joy….we laughingly call it “the Holy Ghost hop”. So Jesus did it too! How delightful.
    Thanks friend!

  22. Mia Herne April 21, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    The joy of the LORD is my strenght . Between Tracie Miles ‘Your(MY =personalized) Still Counts and Lysa TerKeurst ‘s What Happens When Woman(Mia) Walkin Faith–these two studies have awakened me from my winter spiritual hibernation. Spring has arrived in my spirit and soul . My heart is being refreshed and challenged to step out on a new chapter – a new path in my journey. Its time to not look back. Get out of my comfort zone. Beig a pew sitter is not much fun, as the pew has splinters and I feel them probing me where I sit. Eph.2:10 reminds me I am the LORD’s workmanship. He created me in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared for me -now its time for me to do my part get up from that pew and WALK in those good works. They just won’t happen by themselves. I need to be proactive . I need to get out of my boat and walk on the water. Last night I asked God to stir something in me powerful and life giving. I’m here waiting to proceed in this marvelous work set before me . Then this morning its catchup time with my email devotions. Here comes Liz reminding me of the Holy Spirit who is right here with me. We are going to leap for joy as we step out of my comfort zone into my faith zone. I await to expereince Eph 3:20 transforming my prayers beyond expectation. I know God can knock my socks off and this time He is up to something mighty grand . Here I go with my first step ! Thanks Liz for that boost !

  23. Carolyn April 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    LIz, Just want you to know how much I enjoyed the novels with a historical and Biblical theme. I found the Scotland series about Elizabeth and Marjorie and Lord Jack recently and could not put them down.
    The Leanna,Rose Jamie series a was also a Scotland beautiful and inspiring series.
    These books have made me want to visit Scotland. You paint such beautiful pictures with your words. carolyn

  24. Paula April 24, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    I don’t get to your blog enough. This one is just like all the others I have read: inspiring. Love digging into scripture and being lifted up. I have linked to you on my blog. Keep smiling!

  25. sue April 26, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

    Liz I was at the conference in Rochester mn this weekend. I so enjoyed listening to you and what God placed on your heart to share. I am divorced and have been single now for over 10 years and have been struggling with feeling so alone. You are right it is hard to live single in a sea of pairs. I was still feeling down got up made myself go to church and cried through the first part of service. After spending time today in prayer and out walking enjoying His beautiful creation I had such peace knowing Gods love is enough and that I am complete in Him. Thanks again for sharing. Sue

  26. Debi Detroyer May 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Thank you Liz,
    I’m once again amazed at how you can open His word to us, showing us how much joy the Lord has for us. Looking at the crucifixion from a human perspective is so different from what you showed us here. As a parent I couldn’t imagine the pain of sacrificing your son, much less for us who are so underserving. But to find joy in it…..WOW Amazing Love, Amazing Grace, Praise His Holy Name


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