Happiness in Jesus
Happiness is found in
Always obeying God
Pride causes us to sin
Pray for a humble heart
It's here you must begin
No man serves two masters
Each day let His will win
Seek His face in all you do
So peace will dwell within
I wrote the above poem when I was in my early teens. I know teenagers are known for their drama, but I think things were less complicated then (at least they seemed to be for me). My now-adult heart makes my spiritual walk entirely too complicated in many ways. Maybe the Lord had me write that as a girl so as an adult I would not forget this truth: happiness is in Jesus. The world will forever have you chasing the cycle of money, material things, relationships, jobs, physical perfection, and whatever makes you "feel good" in order to gain what it calls happiness. A walk around the local shopping mall one day reminded me of this fact. The pictures on the walls and in the store windows often depict people smiling and happy because of the things being advertised. The message is "you can be happy too if you shop here and buy this stuff or look this way." Not really. Sure, you might feel some temporary euphoria from your (over-priced) purchase, but things break, clothes become worn, and most stuff loses value after a while. I do not want to be sucked into the false notion that anything on this earth can bring me a lasting sense of happiness. Yes, the Lord does give us many things to enjoy while we live on this earth, and they can bolster our sense of happiness. They are not the source of our happiness, however. If our happiness does not begin and end in Jesus, we will never truly be happy.
I heard someone basically say once that happiness is the feeling that is governed by our outward circumstances, while joy is the thing from God that we carry in our hearts no matter what happens. The premise was that while you may not always be happy, you can always be joyful. I agreed at the time, but I shall now beg to differ. Webster's dictionary defines happiness as primarily being "a state of well-being and contentment", with the synonym given as "joy". Well, if "godliness with contentment is great gain"1, then I would say that happiness derived from contentment with Jesus and what He gives us is no more moved by outward circumstances than is the joy of the Lord. I can be happy, because He is everything I need, and He takes care of His own. So what if I do not possess all that the world says I must have to be happy. I have Jesus, and nothing can separate me from His love. Even in painful circumstances, I can taste a blessed happiness from His hand, for He holds me in the midst of the sorrow. This is because happiness is not merely a state of giddiness or an emotional high; rather, it is a place where we may abide, just like peace, hope, or love are such places. The world assigns a transience to these things based on circumstance, but this is not reality. These things in their truest and purest form come from God Himself, and since He is our Rock that cannot be shaken, happiness can remain no matter what happens.
The obedience part mentioned in the poem is also part of the happiness equation. If I have Jesus, but am not being obedient to Him, I am not going to be happy. My heart will be heavy, because I am causing my King sorrow by my disobedience. How can I continue on in sin and expect to feel the happiness of fellowship with Him? I believe this why when we as Christians are disobedient to the Lord we often try to find happiness in the stuff of earth instead of Him. Our sin clogs the flow of true happiness, joy, and contentment coming from our Saviour.
I know a believer does not have to be walking in overt sin to be taken in by the lies of the world concerning how to be happy. I have found myself listening to the lies of discontent at times, agreeing with my flesh when it whines that those lies must be true, and before I know it I'm chasing after happiness the world's way. When I finally stop my reckless running and just come and sit at Jesus' feet, I am quickly reminded that true happiness is a gift given by His hand. I do not have to chase it. He gives it to me as His beloved child. When I lay aside the idols of the earth and look at my King's face, I need no other reason to be happy. The best part about this heavenly happiness is that it will never end. The things we seek for happiness on earth will all fade and perish. God and His kingdom will never pass away. I am happy from now into eternity, because I am happy in Jesus.
1. 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV) ; See also Philippians 4:11-13, Hebrews 13:5-6