The Source of True Happiness
What does it mean to be happy? People everywhere are searching for this elusive feeling. Why does it seem happiness is always one step ahead or behind us?
Have you ever heard someone say something like the following? Have you yourself, perhaps, even said something like the following?
- “Are you happy now?”
- “This is not my happy face.”
- “I have to do what makes me feel happy!”
- “If it makes you happy, do it.”
Humanity has been searching for happiness for millennia. We may think of times when we were happy to be with loved ones, enjoy a well-earned holiday or accomplish something we had always wanted to do; but our lives seldom overflow with happiness continuously. After thousands of years, you would think that human beings would have figured out how to be happy—or at least have agreed on a definition of the word.
Unfortunately, because happiness so often seems to be elusive, people often try to find it in all the wrong places. Many times they fall for an artificial happiness that they create with behaviors that give temporary pleasure. Let’s look at some examples.
Are these people really happy?
1. Many people feel very “happy” when in the midst of sexually immoral behavior. However, when passion and the temporary rush settle and the emptiness of sex without love sets in—are they really happy?
2. Many people feel “happy” in carefree lifestyles with themselves at the center. However, when the fun ends and everyone moves on—are they really happy?
3. Many people feel “happy” when they spike their serotonin or dopamine levels by giving in to physical addictions (such as to drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, overeating, video games, etc.). However, when the brain chemistry comes back to normal and the endless cycle of seeking more (and more extreme) ways to get the same high plagues them—are they really happy?
No, they aren’t
There is only one place to look for true happiness—from the God who created us! The Bible was written to reveal an entire way of life designed to bring peace of mind and happiness.The answer should be obvious. Despite the temporary illusion of happiness, what truly results from trying to equate happiness with a physical pleasure is despair, emptiness and lack of fulfillment. There has to be a better way. Neither philosophy nor psychology nor atheism nor mainstream religion is able to offer a pathway to true happiness.
So where do we turn? Whom do we ask?
Happiness is subjective, but its root is not
There is only one place to look for true happiness—from the God who created us! The Bible was written to reveal an entire way of life designed to bring peace of mind and happiness.
How can we have happiness? It comes when we:
1. Trust the knowledge of God. The God of the Bible truly cares for humanity and has a plan to bring us into His family (Hebrews 2:10). Proverbs 16:20 tells us that “whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.” Trusting in God and His will for our lives brings peace.
2. Keep the laws of God. As Creator of mankind, God knows what behaviors and attitudes are going to be beneficial and make people happy, and what behaviors and attitudes are going to be destructive and make us miserable. God’s 10 Commandments are designed to bring safety, order and fulfillment to our lives. This is why the Bible tells us: “Happy is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18). Obeying God’s laws will improve our relationships with Him and with other people, because the Commandments show us how to love. And strong, loving relationships are the bedrock of joy and happiness.
3. Use God’s wisdom. Wisdom is simply the practical application of God’s law in our everyday lives. When we live by godly wisdom, we are shielded from many undesirable situations that make us unhappy. Using true wisdom logically brings happiness (Proverbs 3:13, 18).
God has always provided the answer
Though people may have different definitions of what makes them temporarily happy, God has the objective definition of how to be happy: living His way of life. When we govern our personalities and interests by His law, the result is happiness.
When God’s Kingdom is set up, the entire world will have the opportunity to experience true happiness. The good news is that you and I can experience it now—by living according to God’s standards—and in the future—by being a part of God’s family.
Now that is something to be happy about!