From the May/June 2014 issue of Discern Magazine

Are You Happy?

Many people are not happy! They lead unfulfilled lives and wonder if happiness will ever come. Are you happy? If not, there is a solution you should try.

In every country, people experience varying degrees of happiness and unhappiness.

Only a third of Americans say they are very happy, according to a Harris Poll. And, according to a worldwide ranking, the U.S. is the 19th happiest country in the world. The World Happiness Report lists another 137 countries that are even less happy!

Declining happiness

And even in a comparatively happy country like the United States, different groups can face decreasing levels of happiness.

According to the World Happiness Report 2019, “Happiness and life satisfaction among United States adolescents, which increased between 1991 and 2011, suddenly declined after 2012. … Thus, by 2016-17, both adults and adolescents were reporting significantly less happiness than they had in the 2000s.”

We all want to achieve a level of well-being and satisfaction in our lives, but few of us have been taught or discovered the keys to happiness. Many of the popular ideas and self-help solutions turn out to be temporary or even counterproductive. The pursuit of happiness can seem like a fool’s game.

How to become happy

However, becoming happy is not as difficult as you might imagine. God gave us guidance on how to become happy in Proverbs 29:18: “Happy is he who keeps the law.”

Can becoming happy be that simple, and will it work? The answer is yes!

Unfortunately, many teach that the laws of God are no longer relevant in this “enlightened” society. Listings of the 10 Commandments have been removed from U.S. schools and from other public institutions. The mention of God or Jesus Christ in public forums is frowned upon.

Jesus explains what makes you happy

Notice how the Founder of Christianity summarizes God’s law-the way to true happiness.

Jesus Christ makes it very plain in Matthew 22:37-40: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

These two great commandments encompass all of God’s laws. God wants us to honor Him and not allow idolatry or anything else to come between us and our worship of Him. He doesn’t want us to take His name in vain, and He wants us to keep His Sabbath.

God also wants us to respect others by honoring our parents and rejecting murder, adultery, stealing, lying and coveting.

These are the 10 Commandments. They reflect God’s thinking and bring automatic benefits for us and for those around us. And God promises blessings and happiness to those who obey His laws!

Happiness is a world with God’s laws

Can you imagine a world where everyone tries to keep God’s laws? Can you just picture the peace there would be? Can you visualize how much happiness and joy everyone would have?

The Bible says this will become a reality after Jesus Christ returns to the earth and initiates a world of peace and happiness. Everyone will be taught to keep the laws of God.

Isaiah 2:3-4 says, “Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

And one of the results of that action will be that “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (verse 4).

Happy day: no more war!

Think of that—no more war! Wars have claimed millions of lives over the centuries. The vast majority of wars are the result of lust (disobeying the 10th Commandment) and break the Sixth Commandment, “you shall not murder” (James 4:1-2; Exodus 20:13).

Just keeping this one commandment would change the entire way people deal with others. Therefore, if you want to be happy now, don’t harbor the spirit of murder or hate others.Even now, if everyone obeyed the Sixth Commandment, there would be no more war, plus no one would be murdered! We would never hear of tragic stories of school or workplace shootings. People would be freed from the fear of being shot, stabbed or poisoned.

Ultimately, when God writes His laws in our hearts and minds, there will be no more hatred—of anyone. Jesus equated unrighteous anger toward others with the sin of murder (Matthew 5:21-22). A world without hatred would no longer see bigotry, road rage, violent beatings or bullying.

Just keeping this one commandment would change the entire way people deal with others. Therefore, if you want to be happy now, don’t harbor the spirit of murder or hate others.

Happiness comes by obedience

Just think how happy everyone would be if they obeyed all the laws of God!

For instance, the Seventh Commandment demands that we not commit adultery. How many marriages would be saved if no one gave in to infidelity? How many people would be spared from contracting horrific sexually transmitted diseases if everyone obeyed this one law?

Just as Jesus emphasized the deeper meaning of the commandment against murder, so He expanded on the meaning of the command against adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). For a man to even look lustfully upon a woman who isn’t his wife is adulterous!

If this law were obeyed, the pornography industry would no longer exist, children would never be sexually exploited again, and rape would be a scourge of the past.

If you want to be happy, don’t commit adultery—period.

The same reasoning applies to all of God’s commandments. If you want to be happy—don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal and, above all, honor God at all times and keep His Sabbath holy.

You want to be happy and God wants to help

Doing these things is not impossible—and God wants to help. The apostle John wrote the following definitive statement in 1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

And you will be happier! Though even those who obey God suffer in this current evil world, they are making the choices that will lead to satisfaction and joy now and for eternity (Psalms 34:19; 16:11).

As the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness [becoming like our loving God] is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

So give it a try! According to Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life.” The sooner we begin to keep God’s laws, the happier and more blessed we will be.

For more information on how to obey God, download our free booklet God’s 10 Commandments: Still Relevant Today.

The Church of God, a Worldwide Association, which sponsors this website, teaches that God’s laws are important. If you want to fellowship with a group of people who are trying to obey God, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

About the Author

John Foster

John Foster

John Foster grew up in the Chicago, Illinois, area and began attending the Church of God with his parents in 1958.

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