‘God really does want us to be happy, but he doesn’t want happiness to be our god,
so we must seek Him first and get happiness thrown in too.’
you can listen to the whole lesson here:
This week we looked at happiness; everyone is looking for it and yet nobody can seem to hang onto it for long. Happiness this most sublime of feelings is the real force behind so many choices. People even live and die by whether they are satisfied from day to day.
So what are popular authors today saying about happiness? While they are all written by different authors with unique perspectives, still they have similar themes 1. happiness is ultimate and getting it is our right 2. Happiness is subjective, no one knows what will really make one happy. Some things we believe will make us happy don’t and some things we think won’t bring happiness do. 3. Therefore try lots of activities, set goals, think positively, read (and buy) their book, take time with family, vacations, be true to self/ find your inner person, mindfulness, removing toxic people and ideas etc… 4. but beware happiness wanes, satisfaction for any one experience has a diminishing rate of return over time. This explains how people become addicted to drugs. They need more and more just to have a passable experience. It also is true of every event we find satisfaction in. No matter how massively brilliant it seems at first, it’s bound to leave us eventually longing for more.
While some of the above ideas are of some merit, much of it fails from a incorrect focus. We asked, ‘what does the Bible have to say about happiness?’ On the surface it may seem not much. Indeed, we’re probably hard pressed to remember a verse with the words happy or happiness. But that’s just the thing, happiness has been removed from our Bibles with words like ‘blessed, joy, rejoice.’ in their place Look at these verses and think about how the meaning changes when we translate them a bit more emotionally.
‘Truly happy is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take’ Psalm 1:1
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our very great happiness complete 1 John 1:3-4
Be constantly happy in the lord always, again I will say it be constantly happy Philippians 4:3
So then God really does want us to be happy. But even so God doesn’t want us to seek happiness as ultimate. In fact, if one does seek happiness this way, one won’t be happy. Why? Because we’ve set up our ultimate satisfaction as the highest priority, the god of our lives. Instead, God calls us each to come surrender our lives and he will give us great joy. Jesus says
Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things(food, clothing, shelter…and happiness!)all that will be added to you’ Matthew 6:33
the Scriptures tell us that we find happiness as we come to God:
‘Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, truly happy are all those who trust in Him.’ Psalm 34:8
Lastly we see that God gives us a strong root of happiness, his gift of a Saviour:
Behold I bring good tidings of great happiness that will be for all people : today in the City of David a Saviour has been born Luke 2:10-11
So therefore if we really want to be happy, the way forward is to forget about seeking happiness and receive God’s grace and purpose for our lives. Than as we submit ourselves to the Lord he will fill us with a happiness that will never go away. We will know that we both are right with God now and that we will spend forever with Him, and even in the sad moments of life we will have this greater hope helping us to be satisfied and cope.
Going Deeper Questions:
1 Was there anything from this lesson that struck you particularly?
2. Do you agree that the way to be happy is to forget about it and focus on something else?
3. What was one of the happiest moments of your life? Did it come about because you were seeking happiness or was it something else?
4. How does God give us happiness as we surrender to Him?
5. In what way is it incredibly freeing to not have to be a happiness seeker?
6. Have you ever felt supremely happy while at church, doing something for Jesus, or in prayer? What caused this?
7. How could we possibly be really happy even in the midst of tragedy; loved ones dying, people turning from God, friends falling out unfairly with us, bad diagnoses arriving?