Saturday, February 3, 2018

Happiness According To Scripture

        Many people, including Christians, have wondered what it means to find satisfaction in life. In fact, most have never encountered the rightful source of our happiness, which is God Himself. Our service to Him ought to ignite pleasure 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? How we answer these questions determines what we focus on in life.

        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 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. Scripture occupies 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 according 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?

        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). It is our worldview 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 it is the gateway of the heart. We should be placing our trust in God. It is He who redeems 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. 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). 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. That is selfishness and idolatry. We cannot resort to a finite source to quench a longing that demands infinite fulfillment. We cannot have lasting happiness and fulfillment apart from God. It is only through Him that we even consistently adhere to objective moral laws. It is only through Him that we can have peace and order. Joy is not a byproduct of holiness, but rather is holiness itself (Psalm 1:1-3; Matthew 5:2-12). It can only be found in serving God according on His terms.

        God is the ultimate source of our happiness. Not everything that happens in life will bring us into that state of being, but God leads people of faith to true and abiding happiness. It is centered around the Person and work of Jesus Christ. We are set free from sin through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. God is worthy of our dedication. Our joyous state should therefore be a positive reflection of our spiritual health. We should be striving to be holy as God Himself is holy. Godliness is exemplified in thought, word, and deed. This is true happiness. The world is not our eternal dwelling place, and so we should not strive to live like its people. Sin can never result in happiness or fulfillment. It is not a psychological but supernatural bliss He gives to those who love Him. It will not be fully brought to realization until we enter the eternal state. Our hearts need to be made right with God in order to experience this kind of bliss.

1 comment:

  1. Overall, a very encouraging and uplifting article. I really appreciate you sending me this link Jesse. There are only about two things i want to point out, i think you meant life instead of light john 14:6. And i could be wrong but im not sure joy and happiness are exactly the same but again maybe im wrong there. Keep up the good work.