Everybody wants to be happy. That’s a good thing and that’s the reason why McDonald’s don’t sell ‘sad’ meals. They’re happy meals because happy is good and on today’s episode, we chat with Daniel Fusco who sees an often overlooked connect between Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s, as the key to true happiness in the life of believers today.
WHO WANTS TO BE HAPPY?
Everyone! But we often forget that it’s God who is the fountain of living water, where all our nourishment comes from. In the Old Testament, water was life. It wasn’t freely available at the push of a faucet like today and so we miss the value it had, the scarcity it had and the life giving power it had because it’s so freely available to us today that it doesn’t feel special anymore.
Jesus is widely regarded as the best teacher who ever lived whether you believe in him or not, and yet nobody today is saying what Jesus was saying. Everyone is pursuing happiness but the reality is that nobody is truly feeling happy. That’s because we aren’t pursuing true happiness, that the Bible outlines for us clearly in the Sermon on the Mount as well as Paul’s teaching.
Jesus begins his most famous section, of his most famous sermon with ‘here’s the 9 characteristics of a happy person’. That’s why Daniel wrote the book. He was chasing true, authentic, Jesus based happiness in the most Biblical way he saw.
Personally, I (Mike) would worry writing a book called crazy happy because I know that I’m not always 100% happy, all the time. So I asked Daniel whether we should start calling him ‘Dr. Happy’?!
In no way am I always happy, and nobody is. That’s the point and that’s the myth of the expert who always does things the right way, it’s just not real. If I wrote a marriage book nobody would believe I have a perfect marriage because that’s not possible.
We think happiness is the absence of sadness but Jesus said the opposite, that ‘happy is the person who grieves’. Even when things are bad we should trust in a good God who can bring joy out of sadness.
Daniel describes himself as being on a crazy happy journey where sometimes he’ll catch himself saying ‘why aren’t I happy right now’? He’s recognized that this is a journey that we’re on but not a destination.
If humility is the entry point to happiness then pride is the enemy of happiness.
HOW DOES THIS BLEND WITH THE SELF HELP, AMERICAN CHURCH THEOLOGY
Everybody tries to co-op Jesus into everything. This is Jesus as my homeboy, Jesus of my political party etc. but no matter who our culture says Jesus is, what matters is who Jesus really is.
I don’t want to make Jesus in my image I want to be made in his image.
It’s not all simplistic. But we need to become like the little children so we don’t allow the complications of the world cloud our vision of who Jesus is. That’s why Daniel wants to stay simple when it comes to Jesus vs. overanalyzing things.
THE MIND IS THE KEY
So many authors are tackling the mind. My (Mike’s) recent book club episode covering Craig Groeschel’s ‘Winning the War of your Mind’, Jon Acuff’s ‘Soundtracks’, Joyce Meyer’s ‘Battlefield of the Mind’, are just three in a long line of attempts to help the reader recognize and overcome the challenges their mind creates for them. It seems as though everyone is talking about the mind and how it processes information, life experiences etc. to shape who you are and who you become.
Mental wellness is clearly critical and Daniel’s connection between the Beatitudes spoken by Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul is a Biblical connecting of the dots to show that no matter what happens on one hand, the other can still provide us a way through and a way forward as we deal with life and the challenges it brings.
Half the time Jesus was healing people he was casting out demons from people but today, we as believers shy away from anything we can’t fully grasp or understand. Daniel sees a connection between the spiritual and the natural in the area of mental wellness and the mind while recognizing that this isn’t always the case.
Many of us may not ever realize that we’re in a spiritual battle, not understanding that there could be more to our situation that the things we see but Jesus said the enemy seeks to “kill and destroy”, so we shouldn’t overlook that. The spiritual realm presses into our natural world in different ways which is why we need to see things through the lens of the spirit.
When Daniel traveled in India, he saw much more of God’s power at work in the supernatural realm than here in the western world.
Finally, he wants to be remembered as someone who told everyone that Jesus was real.
KEY QUOTES & NOTES
- You can open up every self help book on happiness and nobody says the first step to happiness is humility.
- Lookout for Daniel’s enhanced ‘Armor of God’ thoughts!
- Satan functions the best in discouragement.
- It’s a battle we fight every single day.
- Discouraged people don’t acknowledge what they do have and don’t want to help others with what they don’t have.
- In a country that’s one of the richest in the world we live in a culture that’s never been less happy.
- “Get me pre-coffee in the morning I’m not always that happy! My house is crazy first thing in the morning.”