WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH US ABOUT HAPPINESS?
BIBLE READING: Ecclesiastes 1:1-18 KEY BIBLE VERSE: I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done in the world. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. Everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind. What is wrong cannot be righted. What is missing cannot be recovered. (Ecclesiastes 1:12-15)
HAPPINESS IS ULTIMATELY MEASURED BY OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Many people feel restless and dissatisfied. They wonder: (1) If I am in God’s will, why am I so tired and unfulfilled? (2) What is the meaning of life? (3) When I look back on it all, will I be happy with my accomplishments? (4) Why do I feel burned out, disillusioned, dry? (5) What is to become of me? Solomon tests our faith, challenging us to find true and lasting meaning in God alone. As you take a hard look at your life, as Solomon did his, you will see how important serving God is over all other options. Perhaps God is asking you to rethink your purpose and direction in life, just as Solomon did in Ecclesiastes. BIBLE READING: Matthew 5:1-12 KEY BIBLE VERSE: God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too. (Matthew 5:11-12)
HAPPINESS IS MUCH MORE THAN A FEELING.
Each Beatitude tells how to be blessed. Blessed means more than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those who are in God’s kingdom. The Beatitudes don’t promise laughter, pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, “blessed” means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter what the cost. BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 6:3-10 KEY BIBLE VERSE: True religion with contentment is great wealth. (1 Timothy 6:6)
MONEY DOESN’T BRING HAPPINESS.
This statement is the key to spiritual growth and personal fulfillment. We should honor God and center our desires on him (“true religion,” see Matthew 6:33), and we should be content with what God is doing in our life (see Philippians 4:11-13). Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, most people still believe that money brings happiness. Rich people craving greater riches can be caught in an endless cycle that only ends in ruin and destruction. How can you keep away from the love of money? Paul gives us some guidelines: (1) realize that one day riches will all be gone (6:7, 17); (2) be content with what you have (6:8); (3) monitor what you are willing to do to get more money (6:9-10); (4) love people more than money (6:11); (5) love God’s work more than money (6:11); (6) freely share what you have with others (6:18). (See Proverbs 30:7-9 for more on avoiding the love of money.)
GOD’S WORD ON HAPPINESS,
Is happiness a passing emotion or a permanent state? The Bible says it can be both. There is happiness that reacts to happenings (which is temporary and volatile), and there is happiness that overrules happenings (which is strong and lasting). Happiness based on happenings is part of life, but if that is all we can count on we have to keep feeding ourselves with events to keep us upbeat. Those who know the joy that comes from God don’t need happenings to keep them happy. They learn how to develop inner joy because they know that no matter what happens, God offers hope and promise. HOW CAN I BRING HAPPINESS TO GOD? Deuteronomy 30:10 . . . The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and laws written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Proverbs 11:1 . . . The Lord. . . .delights in honesty. Proverbs 11:20 . . . The Lord. . . .delights in those who have integrity. Proverbs 15:8 . . . The Lord. . . .delights in the prayers of the upright. Proverbs 15:26 . . . The Lord. . . .delights in pure words. Can we finite, sinful human beings truly bring joy and delight to the Lord, the Creator of the universe? Yes, and it is simple though not easy-honor him, obey him, respond to his love, seek his forgiveness, and walk daily with him. HOW DOES GOD EXPRESS HIS HAPPINESS WITH ME? Zephaniah 3:17 . . . The Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. Psalm 18:19 . . . He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. Psalm 149:4 . . . The Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. The Lord delights in saving us from our sins, guiding us in his ways, and taking daily care of us. DOES GOD PROMISE ME HAPPINESS? Philippians 4:4, 12 . . . Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice! . . . I have learned the secret of living in every situation. James 1:2 . . . Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. God does not promise temporary happiness; in fact the Bible assumes problems will come our way. But God does promise lasting joy for all those who believe in him. This kind of joy stays with us despite our problems. WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF TRUE HAPPINESS? Psalm 40:16 . . . May all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” Psalm 68:3 . . . Let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Psalm 86:4 . . . Give me happiness, O Lord, for my life depends on you. Psalm 146:5 . . . Happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. The Lord himself is the wellspring of true happiness. The more we love him, know him, walk with him, and become like him, the greater our happiness.
HOW CAN I BRING HAPPINESS TO OTHERS?
Romans 12:10 . . . Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 2 Corinthians 7:13 . . . In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was at the way you welcomed him and set his mind at ease. Ecclesiastes 9:9 . . . Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you in this world. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. As God is the wellspring of true happiness, so we are the conduits of that happiness to others.
WHERE DO WE GET REAL, LASTING HAPPINESS?
Hebrews 12:2 . . . We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus . . . He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Psalm 112:1 . . . Happy are those who fear the Lord. Yes, happy are those who delight in doing what he commands. Fear God and trust in him; delight in doing his commands. Psalm 16:8-9 . . . I know the Lord is always with me . . . No wonder my heart is filled with joy. Happiness is based on God’s presence within us, which brings true contentment. Galatians 5:22 . . . When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives produces joy. Psalm 119:2 . . . Happy are those who obey his decrees and search for him with all their hearts. Philippians 1:25 . . . I will continue with you so that you will grow and experience the joy of your faith. Faith in God brings happiness, for God has promised that when we truly seek him, we will surely find him (Jeremiah 29:13-14). Matthew 25:21 . . . You have been faithful in handling this small amount . . . Let’s celebrate together! A job well done brings a deep sense of satisfaction and is an occasion for joy.
HOW CAN I BE HAPPY IN THE MIDST OF DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES?
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 . . . Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 1 Peter 4:12-13 . . . Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad-because . . . you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory. Difficult circumstances help us better understand what Christ went through for us and make us partners with him. Romans 5:2 . . . We confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. Hebrews 10:34 . . . When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity. Hope in God’s promises of eternal life can make us happy because we know that what we are presently going through will one day end. Acts 5:41 . . . The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus.
HAPPINESS IS LIVING AND SHARING THE WONDERFUL NEWS ABOUT THE LORD!
Isaiah 52:7 . . . How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! The Good News of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, and the wonderful relationship we can have with God through him, is news of great joy and happiness for us. When we receive this news as our own, we are supremely happy. But there is an added measure of happiness when we share it with others. Daniel 12:3 . . . Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who turn many to righteousness will shine like stars forever. Godliness is like sunshine, radiating the warmth and light from God himself. Witnessing is like starlight, reflecting the Son to others. Proverbs 13:9 . . . The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the sinner’s light is snuffed out. Goodness is from God, and God is light. When we live godly lives, we are lamps along the way, but when we live ungodly lives, the lamps go out. The light of godliness brings true happiness.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE HAPPY WHEN WE HAVE NOTHING MATERIALLY?
Habakkuk 3:18 . . . I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk described in the previous verses an utter stripping of material prosperity. Then this beautiful verse concludes that still he will find joy in the Lord. Proverbs 13:7 . . . Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor. Material riches can bring spiritual poverty. Material poverty can bring spiritual riches. It is possible to have both types of riches, but watch out if you are materially “blessed,” lest your blessing become a curse. Matthew 6:19-21 . . . Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
PROMISES FROM GOD:
Proverbs 11:23 . . . The godly can look forward to happiness, while the wicked can expect only wrath. Psalm 1:1 . . . Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked. Obeying God brings great joy.