Happiness. A fickle and sometimes elusive emotion. Happiness as defined by Merriam-Webster is a state of well-being and contentment, a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Happiness is often used as the gauge to determine if we have made the correct decision or going in the right direction in life. How many times have you thought or heard someone else say “I’m very happy with my life right now”. If we take these statements at face value it sounds like a very good thing. We believe people should be happy. Many times happiness is a very good thing like the birth of a child, a long loving marriage, a job promotion, a good health checkup and other very honorable moments.
The same happy feeling can also accompany less honorable moments in life, especially considering what it means to be a Christ follower. We can often find happiness and being a Christ follower polar opposites. I have known people who were having affairs and said they did it because the new person made them happy. My guess is nearly 90+% of affairs initially start out with one or both people feeling very happy. I know a couple who are living together and they will say they are in one of the happiest relationships of their life. I did not even mention that the man is still legally married, although separated from his wife. A lot of people will say they started doing drugs because it made them happy or made them feel good. Many of us had premarital sex and it made us feel happy. Looking at pornography makes people happy. I can admit and I bet you can too that momentary happiness often fails to deliver what we were expecting and often draws us away from Christ instead of leading us to Christ.
So what is this thing we call happiness. What feeds our happy button? Is happiness concerned about what is best for us especially when we consider morality, spiritually, honesty and integrity? Does happiness have limits and boundaries?
Too be honest almost anything and everything can make us feel happy depending upon what we want or need at the moment. Happiness can be a very carnal emotion if left unbridled.
Is there something more reliable that will not fail us? As a Christ follower before we check our happy emotion we need to do a spiritual checkup. How does our decision or planned action line up with what God says Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”
Does our decision violate any of the things we know God desires for our life and if so are there alternatives? The good news with this one is God gives us a promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” Did you see the promise – But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. That is a promise for the King of the universe. We do not have to give in to worldly desires he will always give us a choice if we choose to seek it.
I could continue on but I will close with a question. Which path do you believe will provide you true happiness? The path of God or the path of the world? If following the path of God is somewhat difficult for you try doing some things a little different such as starting your day with a prayer and thanking God for at least 5 things he has done or is doing in your life. Spend 5-10 minutes listening to a praise song and then singing parts of the song out loud or in your head throughout your day as you go about your normal activities. When something good happens to you during the day take a moment to say “thank you God”. I know your initial thought like mine was years ago is “how are these things going to help me make better choices that are pleasing to God”. I revert back to Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” The reason it works is because God will be on your mind and with you during your day so when moments come to make decisions His presence will guide you. Give it a try for 6 months and let me know how it impacted your life.