Christian Hedonism is founded on the fact that we are to delight in Jesus more than any other thing — spiritual or earthly. Jesus should be our sole source of satisfaction and joy. We are repeatedly commanded in Scripture to praise God with rejoicing. You can’t praise God without joy. Otherwise, it’s simply lip service. Often times, in the Bible, we are told to joyfully sing.
Joy is not masking over hardships and afflictions in life to put a plastic smile on your face during Sunday morning church. Joy is the overflow of Christian freedom to express great sorrow in situations, with the solid, steel-beam truth that we can yet “rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16) because of all that God is for us in Jesus Christ. Our God is in control and is always for us. Despite being sorrowful, broken, depressed, afflicted, tired, and weary, we can come to Jesus with great joy and happiness because he is greater than anything in this world. So, when we sing, we can sing with great joy.
Next week, when you go to church, and singing is hard, express your sorrow and despair in hope that God is sovereign. This is joyful singing. You cannot sing joylessly. You will not find joy in looking at your circumstance — no matter how good or bad. You will only find joy in looking to the all-powerful and all-knowing God, who has given us his Son, so that everything that stood between you and him might be broken down.
Here’s how Jonathan Edwards puts it in his book The End for Which God Created the World.
“[Praising God] implies joy in God, or rejoicing in his perfections, as is manifest by Psalm 33:2. ‘Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright.’ Other passages to the same purpose, see in the margin. How often do we read of singing praise! But singing is commonly an expression of joy. It is called, making a joyful noise. And as it is often used, it implies gratitude or love to God for his benefit to us” [cf. Ps. 30:12; 35:18; 63:3-4: 66:8-9; 71:6-8; 79:13; 98:4-5; 100:4; 107:21-22; 138:2].