Saturday, February 3, 2018

Happiness According To Scripture

       Many people, including Christians, have continually pondered what it means to obtain genuine, profound happiness. In fact, there are some who are absolutely clueless of these uplifting, fulfilling emotional experiences because they have never encountered any rightful source which ignites feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and joy. It is quite possible that these individuals have undergone disease, disorder, ill-treatment, or simply yearn for an inherent sense of dignity. Whatever the case, the good news as prescribed by the gospel can alleviate us of sorrows prompted by physical, psychological, and spiritual reasons (Philippians 4:19). It will help the person who desires righteousness to view the glass as half full rather than half empty. The gospel can liberate the confined soul by enabling the mind to rest assured in the fact that God is ultimately in control of life. What does it mean to have true happiness? Where should our happiness originate? Can we be happy without holiness? Providing answers to such fundamental questions will most certainly aid people in discovering the scriptural standpoint on happiness, and how to make it efficacious in their lives.

       Happiness is the pleasurable emotion which occurs when a person is satisfied overall. It is a feeling of delight. It is a feeling of gratitude. It is a feeling of optimism. It is a feeling of assurance. It is a feeling of appeasement. It is a feeling of consolation. It is a feeling of purposefulness. Happiness is a feeling of livelihood. Happiness is a feeling of perseverance (James 1:3-4). Happiness is a feeling of confidence. It involves trust. It involves faithfulness. Happiness is a state of mental tranquility. In summary, being happy involves being in a state of well-being. Oftentimes, the Scriptures occupy the words happiness and joy synonymously. In other words, they recognize no distinction between the meanings of both words. They are inextricably united (Psalm 68:3; 144:15). Thus, being joyful is the same as being happy. It involves being glad. It involves rejoicing, even during times of hardship and heartache (Romans 5:3-5). It entails praising the God who has lovingly set the universe in order. True happiness as defined in accordance to biblical principles involves glorifying God, especially knowing that He has reconciled us to Himself from iniquity through the atoning work of His Son Jesus Christ. The foundational aspect of happiness is that it is strictly a gift (Romans 14:17). If God is for us, then who or what can be against us? Is not the love of God everything?

       Now, it would be appropriate to address the question regarding the proper source of human happiness. Should our joy be determined by mere circumstance, or should it be centered on a divine Person? Indeed, the truth shall set us free (John 8:31-32). Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the light (John 14:6). God's Word is the truth by which the innermost part of our being is sanctified (John 17:14-17). The Bible is the spiritual standard by which the Christian worldview has been established. It is our walk with God that shapes our perception of reality. If we love, know, and serve our Creator from the heart, then we know that we belong to Him (1 John 2:3-4). If we believe from the heart that God had resurrected the Christ from the grave, then we shall be justified in His sight. It is through receiving the message of the gospel that we have been deemed children of God. It needs to be believed with all our heart. It also needs to be believed with our entire mind because the mind is the gateway of the heart. We should be placing our trust in God. It is He who saves us. God sustains us through moments of pain, desolation, distress, and suffering. We can learn to experience authentic joy only when we realize that God's grace is sufficient for us, and that His strength is complemented during the times of our weakness. This is the meaning of leaning on Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-28).

       Scripture informs us of two different, diametrically opposed kinds of happiness. One springs forth from engaging in fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), whereas the latter comes from partaking in fleshly desires (Hebrews 11:25). What needs to be addressed here is the fact that allowing sin to have dominion over our lives is futile, and dangerous to the soul (Galatians 6:7-9). It is unprofitable for us. Fulfilling sinful lusts can only result in feeling finite, temporary satisfaction. In other words, surrendering our will to sin can only result in us feeling a self-deceptive perversion of happiness. Sin is defined scripturally to mean the breaking of God's commandments (1 John 3:4). It is a failure to live up to reality. It is a failure to appreciate the good things that God has designed for us. A sin addiction necessarily involves a repetitive cycle of engaging in that specific transgression. It is pointless to continue in that lifestyle because it can never satisfy the longings of the human soul. This is a form of selfishness. This is a form of idolatry. This is a form of slavery. It is lawlessness. It is rebellion. Quite simply, we cannot resort to a finite source to quench a longing that demands infinite fulfillment. A lifestyle of sin is simply unworkable. We cannot have happiness without God. It is only through Him that we can have an ultimate sense of purpose for our lives. It is only through Him that we can even consistently adhere to objective moral laws. It is only through Him that we can have understanding, peace, and order. Happiness is not a byproduct of holiness, but rather is holiness (Psalm 1:1-3; Matthew 5:2-12). It can only be found in serving God according to His will.

       This essay has been written to explain what it means to be happy, the source of true happiness, and what it should be centered on. There can be no true and lasting happiness apart from God. Any happiness that we as believers experience is centered around the divine Person of Jesus Christ. We are set free from sin and desolation through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and the glorious gospel. God is worthy of our dedication. Our joyous state should therefore be a positive reflection of our spiritual health. It should remain through times of tribulation because they are meant to build up our virtues. We should be striving to becoming closer to God, rather than separating ourselves from His presence. His desire that mankind be saved should be magnified through our preaching and character. This is true happiness. The world is not our home, and so we should not strive to live like the world. The ways of the world are the ways of darkness, which is contrary to the Light. Sin can never result in happiness. It is pure bondage of the soul, with results being sacrilegious thoughts, words, and deeds. Our hearts need to be right with God in order to experience eternal bliss.

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