Posted by: Jo | April 5, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness…” (Ecclesiastes 2:26)

I was interested to see in one of our local papers, a series of articles on “What Does Happiness Mean Today?imageThe reporter had interviewed different people from all walks of life and had asked them to describe what it meant for them to be happy. The stories varied widely as to what individuals considered happiness to be. I was not surprised to read that many of those being interviewed agreed that having lots of money was not the answer.

Some of the other reasons seemed to me to be trite sayings that we have all heard repeated many times. For example, achieving your goals in life; dreaming that big dream; believing you can do it; finding that perfect job/ partner; believing in yourself etc. One story caught my eye that seemed a genuine reason for happiness. The person being interviewed had been a very successful and wealthy business woman, but had grown tired of the cut throat business world. One day she had been walking past a church and saw a man begging outside. She reached into her pocket to give him some change when a thought suddenly struck her that this was not the answer. Proper food is what this man needs, she thought. She boldly went into the church to find somebody and found the pastor. She was surprised when he agreed the local poor needed help and they had the room in the church basement, but no resources or man power to help. The surprising end to the story is that this woman gave up her business life, worked with the church to set up a kitchen, joined the church and was able to tell the reporter for the first time in her life she was truly happy providing good food for the poor. imageThese stories are usually found in Christian magazines, I was pleased to read it in the daily newspaper.

The book of Ecclesiastes has a very telling description of what is often the result of a life pursuing selfish gain, pleasure and one’s own happiness;

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure…” (Ecclesiastes 2:10)

When this same writer surveyed how he had lived his life, this is how he viewed what now looked like a meaningless life.

“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

I decided to explore what Scripture has to say about achieving happiness and discovered that happiness is never associated with the pleasing of oneself. True happiness emerges through our relationship with the Lord. That relationship inspires us to live meaningful lives and in so doing, blessings flow our way.

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5) (KJV)

The other theme of the article I was reading was Love. Some folk believed that if you had someone to love and somebody loved you that meant real happiness. I agreed in part with those being interviewed, but all of us know that human love is frail and often conditional and can change abruptly when circumstances change. The only perfect love we will ever find comes from our Heavenly Father.

Happiness in Scripture is always equated with blessings and in modern translations the word “happy” is translated as “blessed”.image

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.” (Psalm 128:1)

So the striving for real happiness is close at hand, The Lord is anxious to pour out his lavish love upon us. His invitation to happiness based on his love is always available,

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed in the man who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)

I found this quote while researching the word “happiness”

Real happiness and peace can be found in submitting to the commands of the Creator and the Sustainer of the world.

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Responses

  1. A very good post! You are right in that no one finds lasting joy in pleasing their own desires, but rather the needs of others in some way. God made us to be caring creatures if we will just allow ourselves to be. Put faith in the things which are of the Lord…

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4
    If we delight in the Lord, He will establish the desires of our heart, and fulfil them – we will be happy.
    Thanks, Jo

    Like

  3. Beautiful reading Jo,
    inner peace comes from knowing the Lord and true happiness

    Like


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