Skip to main content

The Pursuit of Happiness

Recently my wife and I were discussing the issue of people's perpetual search for happiness. Here in the western world, from the time we are small we are constantly bombarded with so-called enablers to happiness: toys, clothes, a beautiful mate, money, cars, houses, vacations, status etc. The result is oftentimes the perpetual pursuit of one or more of these "tangible" rewards towards our satisfaction. Sound familiar? The all too common result however is that the achievement of one or more of these and other goals or pursuits never really brings the so-called happiness that one is often seeking. Oh it may be satisfying for a time, but the pursuit usually picks up again for the next accomplishment towards that elusive happiness goal. The parallel universe of this happiness axiom also is the failure to achieve your pursuit. Also perhaps the loss of the pursuit. The loss of a mate (married or not); the job loss; the reduction in earning power etc. These outcomes oftentimes devastate us and at times may lead to self destructive behavior. Is this really happiness? Can it be achieved and better yet...sustained?

I ask this question, because I think about what God has to say on this topic. On balance I think what you will find is that when God speaks about happiness He tends to speak in terms of happiness not via tangible things such as my list above (the cars, clothes, vacations etc.), but happiness via and through relationship with Him. Below are a few scriptures to illustrate the point:
  • Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.(Psalm 86:4)
  • Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.(Psalm 119:35)

  • The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing. (Proverbs 10:28)

I know that to the gadget driven world in which we live, the above does not sound very exciting or enticing. However we must ask ourselves, if our pursuit of happiness is apart from God, is it working for us? Does it work for our family members? How about our friends or co-workers? I did a word search on happiness throughout the Bible, and I can tell you I did not find any reference to sustainable happiness being found in the human condition in any other way. Gadgets are nice. I love my iPod Touch. But can I live without it if that is what God asks or allows to happen?

I will also take this time to call attention to fellow Christians with respect to this topic as well. The truth of the matter is that unfortunately too many of God's people fall into the same (search for happiness track apart from Him) as much as unbelievers. We may pay lip service to living for God, but what happens when the job is lost? What happens when the desired house is unattainable? What happens when the mate sought chooses another? The truth of the matter is that we live in a culture that is so anti-God that we have been brainwashed into thinking that our happiness is a result of the "fill in the blanks" commercial or advertisement seen recently on TV, the Internet or in a Magazine. Maybe happiness will be found in the car that we saw pulling out of the church parking lot this weekend. I know. I've been there!

I've thought about my own turbulence on this happiness treadmill over the years. Hopefully, I am correct in assuming that I have grown beyond the deception. Perhaps time will tell.

God does offer us a pathway to true happiness: Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8) It is the last word in this Scripture on which I would ask you to focus. How about we seek contentment perhaps more so than happiness. Contentment in our circumstances...not due to those circumstances. Allow God to make of our circumstances what He will. Go along for the ride. Have you ever seen the bumper sticker "God is my co-pilot"? How about truly letting God be your Pilot? You just be content riding in coach in the back of His plane. I love the way the Apostle Paul emphasizes the point: ...for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

(All scripture courtesy of the New Living Translation Bible)


LisaShaw said…
Amen!!! As always I am encouraged in the LORD in what you share on and off line! Blessings and love!

Popular posts from this blog

Funerals for the Unsaved or Unbelievers

I am not a leader of a church, but I oftentimes wonder how does one lead a funeral service for someone who dies without knowing Jesus Christ as Lord? Admittedly I have not been to many funerals in my lifetime, though they are appearing to come more frequently lately, but the fact is that funerals are held daily throughout the world and as such this is a pertinent question to someone just about every day.

I’ve been to the funeral where the person lived a fairly routine life, taking care of their families and other responsibilities as best they could, paying taxes and doing the average things that we as human beings do on a consistent basis. They however had no visible relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. When this person dies, the surviving family members are oftentimes left scrambling trying to find a person and a place to officiate the funeral services – generally because the deceased did not have a regular church that they attended. Funeral homes sometimes serve this f…

Scripture: Are You a Wheat or Weed?

(Matthew 23: 24-30 NIV): Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

(Matthew 23: 36-43 NIV): Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The…

Hal Lindsay off TBN

Christian author and broadcaster Hal Lindsay removed his weekly Christian television news broadcast "The International Intelligence Briefing" from the programming lineup on The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after network officials notified him that his shows would now be subject to pre-screening for censorship prior to broadcast approval. This unusual step was the result of TBN’s disapproval of a Lindsay broadcast in December 2005, which the network said was too inflammatory towards Muslims.

I have reviewed the transcript of Mr. Lindsay's broadcast and I find nothing in it’s content that is not backed up by God’s scripture, nor did I find anything that would be considered overly zealous or purposefully sensational with respect to potential attacks on Muslims. To the extent that TBN, one of the most widely available Christian TV networks would take this position is quite incredulous. One of the reasons for the need for ‘Christian’ TV networks is to enable the presenta…