What is your definition of happiness? Do you look outside of God’s Word for happiness? Do you look outside of the body of brothers and sisters in Christ for advice on happiness? The dictionary defines happiness as – The state of being happy. Okay. Well then what is being happy? The dictionary defines being happy as – a) Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. b) Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement or situation). Using the dictionary I think it is safe to say that the majority of the world defines happiness as the thought of the good life, freedom from suffering, flourishing, well being, joy, prosperity and pleasure. Keep in mind most of the time this is in terms of self. My wellbeing. My pleasure. I demand and deserve to be happy! Can having this outlook on happiness be detrimental to Christianity? YES!
Ultimately God’s happiness is what matters. This means God being happy in that we devote our lives to Him in service and obedience. Humans tend to be so selfish. Being a Christian we are called to be better than that! Christ is the perfect example of love and not being selfish. I mean He died in our stead! (1 Tim. 2:6) To love is to be as Christ. We need to give of ourselves for and to others. (Phi. 2:5-8) Can we truly be happy by being selfish? Do we learn to be happy and loving when we give to others? We have to fight our being selfish every day, probably every hour. It’s HARD! But that is called growing in Christ.
We are commanded to be of one mind and of one accord with other Christians, but also in lowliness of mind (humility) esteem others better than ourselves and look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Phi. 2:1-4) Over all, a Christian’s happiness is caused by the happiness we give to others and serving the Creator. Sacrifice. Self-sacrifice. That happiness can be a kind word, a bit of food, service, comfort, compassion, mourning with a brother or a sister. There are so many ways to be Christlike.
If our ultimate goal is heaven, the thoughts and rewards of that should create happiness and joy. We must please God! In doing this we must try every day to put God first. If we are not putting God first, then we are putting self first. This is the first step to unhappiness. We are miserable because of the everyday selfish stuff we put first before serving God. Attitudes and actions. Then on top of that we know our relationship with God is out of whack. This creates a living HELL! If we continue in unhappiness because of things we have said and done to others then we KNOW we have not been pleasing to God. God first, then spouse, then children, then each other (Christians), then self. This is the order of our happiness factor. If self comes first, look at how many we have transgressed. Do you think this transgression will let us stay in a happy state as we willfully please ourselves and are content in our pleasures and lusts?
There is an answer to our happiness, but are we content when we are happy in short bursts, then miserable the other ninety percent of the time? Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. . . Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:4-8) With God there is eternal contentment through Christ. (Philippians 4:11-13) Yet when people seek happiness outside of God they bring utter hell to themselves while they live in “happiness.” And all the while saying, “God wants me to be happy.” Or all the while blaming God for their misery! Yet they get their “moments” of happiness. (Drugs, alcohol, sex, sports, pornography, oh the list can go on and on).
What happens with having happiness outside of God’s blessings is having confidence and satisfaction in the things of the world? We all know there is no lasting contentment in the things of the flesh. Those with a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:21-32), those men of folly in 2 Tim. 3:2-9 and those caught in the snare of the devil and taken captive seek the pleasures and lusts of this world. All the while Paul says, Not me. This is the happiness in Christ: “Knowing thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim.3:10-12) Notice who delivered Paul out of all those things mentioned. Christ! Yet people forsake the assembly, leave brothers and sisters in Christ, leave their marriages, leave their children, all for the pursuit of happiness. Paul tells how miserable of a life they lead without Christ. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; (1 Pet. 4:14). Behold, we count them happy which endure (James 5:11).
Christ spoke of the happiness we have in serving one another, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (John 13:17) What makes us think we can have longterm happiness outside of Christ? Only in Christ can we have the happiness that fills the soul and brings the contentment that will not forsake us. Who do we think we are to demand happiness at the expense of others? How dare we say we deserve happiness while forsaking our brethren and our God?! How pitiful are the fools that dwell in their own sorrows and can’t see past their own nose. They will be judged by a just God; and those who deserve death, yet demand, “Thy will be done,” shall know God’s happiness.