- How do you define happiness? Though it is difficult to define there are some illustrations of happiness and some Biblical principles that will help us. Happiness is experienced when the natural God-given capacity in the soul for happiness is satisfied. As health is to the body so is happiness to the human person. As spring is to nature, as taste is to food, as beauty is to art, so there is a correspondence in the human person to all of these that we call happiness. We sense this is what we are made for—this is the way it should be—this is right! We say, “I have found it!” Now what is the root of happiness? Many things seem to promise happiness such as health, lifelong romance with your husband or wife, a sense of fulfillment in your vocation, or a close-knit family. But these good things in life are not the root of happiness. There is something that is more basic than these and without it all of these can surprisingly fail to bring us true lasting happiness. What is the root of this true happiness? It is when the soul finds its satisfaction in God. This is what man is made for, and this alone will give him true, abiding happiness. We have found the root of true happiness when we can say like the Psalmist, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
- When we find God as the source of our happiness, we will have found a fountain that refreshes every aspect of life (see John 4:14). God has made every aspect of life, so He knows how to enliven and enhance each part of it by a deep satisfaction in your inner spirit. Ultimately this satisfaction consists in knowing God. Loving God and being loved by God is the cheerful sunrise of the soul. It is also the contented sunset. To love God with all your heart is the greatest commandment, and it is also the greatest joy in life (Matthew 22:37). Sadly, some people think they are happy without God or with a trite acquaintance with God. These are unawakened to know what eternity and even life now is all about.
- Seeking and finding God may sound mysterious, but God has appointed the way to do it, because He wants us to find Him. The Bible says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). God has appointed that we seek and find Him through the Word of God and prayer. If we are not seeking God in this way we are not seeking Him as He has appointed.
- What do we find in the Bible when we do seek to know God? We find the Lord Jesus is the central focus of the Bible from beginning to end. Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures . . . these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). He is God the Son who came to earth and took up human nature that He might die on the cross and pay for the sins of men and forgive all those who will trust in Him. The Apostle Paul said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). He arose from the dead and ascended up to heaven. He now as King of heaven and earth sends the Holy Spirit to bring men to the saving knowledge of God.
- True trust in the Lord Jesus is joined to repentance. The Lord Jesus said in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.” God personally deals with each one that He saves by bringing them to see the evil of living a life that ignores the One who made me. This disobedience and selfishness and dishonoring of God brings us under God’s wrath. It may startle us, but to live a God-ignoring life is the most unthankful, unbelieving life there is. Job describes it this way, “Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us, for we do not desire the knowledge of your ways. Who is the Almighty that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’” (Job 21:14-15). We may never have said those words, but it is still the effect of our selfish lives. Only fleeing to the Lord Jesus will bring us pardon. The Bible gives great encouragement to the person who is truly repentant. We read in Psalm 51:17, “A broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, you will not despise.”
- To find God we must find God speaking to us in the Word of God as real as a living person speaking to us. For this is what God is doing. He says, “Come to Me and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Our response to God’s invitation must not be like a fleeting “New Year’s resolution”. Our response to God’s call must not be an impulsive decision. It must be a change of heart and life that lasts lifelong. Our response must be one of entrusting our soul to the Savior. A repentant trust in the Lord Jesus to forgive us and to give us a new heart is the way to come to know God. This opens up to us many wonderful aspects of life with God.
- This true faith brings us to know God as Father; to know the Lord Jesus as Savior, Shepherd, and Heavenly Friend; to know the Holy Spirit as Comforter and the One who enables us to grow in obedience to God. This is the fountain of true happiness. It is perpetually renewed throughout our life here below and will continue in heaven forever. We could define true joy or happiness as the satisfaction of possessing the greatest good in life, which is God Himself as your portion and joy. May you know the happiness only God can give!
Pastor Gary Carter
Free Grace Church of Tampa Bay