Bible Verses: 1 Kings 21:17-19
Affluence and personal peace at any price as the controlling factors of life are as ugly as anything could be. – Francis Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the 20th Century
What does the Bible say about happiness?
The United States Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Christians and non-Christians do not disagree that happiness should be a human goal, but they should disagree with how this goal is best achieved. So what does the Bible say about finding happiness?
The Bible Says Happiness Is a Byproduct of Loving God
When personal happiness becomes the end goal of all that we seek, personal happiness then becomes the governing principle in our individual lives rather than Holy Spirit. The thought process in our decisions is no longer, “Is this right and pleasing to God?” but rather, “Will this make me happy?”
Psalm 37:4 states, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This Bible verse does not mean that if we seek to be happy in God, he will then give us whatever we want. What Psalm 37:4 implies is that delighting yourself in the Lord is the desire of your heart. When you seek happiness in Christ you will find it. Blessings, like happiness, are always a byproduct of loving God. Whenever the blessing becomes the focus, you lose the blessing and your love for God. When you love God over the blessings, like happiness, you get both.
When happiness becomes our singular aim without a desire to please God, evil is sure to follow. To set ourselves up as the center of the universe, making decisions from a personal perspective with no regard for the happiness of others is what will eventually burn the whole world down. Genocide, abortion, slavery, and other less obvious self-centered sins which bubble up into human societies occur because people have begun to pursue their own personal happiness without the consideration of others.
The Bible Says Happiness Comes From Putting Others First
Sin always puts self first. And when self is first, it will keep itself there by every ruthless means required. The only solution to self-centeredness is the only solution to sin in general, Jesus Christ.
When Jesus Christ enters a man, when his Spirit becomes our Spirit, the greatest visible change that occurs is how we seek to achieve our happiness. Many think that the greatest change is that Christians no longer possess “the pursuit of happiness.” But that’s simply not biblical. The Bible does not teach Christians not to pursue personal happiness; the Bible teaches us how to pursue true personal happiness in God alone, through Jesus alone.
God’s way of bringing life is completely different than mans’ way. Man says do what you must to make yourself happy. God says do what you must to make God happy, and in the process you will find a greater joy than ever before. Mans’ happiness terminates on itself. God’s happiness for man finds its end goal in God.
Paul says in Acts 20:34-35, “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” The Bible explains, therefore, that the way to happiness is not through selfishness but selflessness.
Paul is letting us know that he sought to love and serve people, and in the process he received far more happiness than he would have if he sought to be served by people, for “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The Bible Says Happiness Is Found When You Give Up Your Life for Christ
The Bible gives clear instruction about happiness through the words of Jesus,“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33). Again, the Bible explains that the pursuit of happiness is not the problem. How we pursue our happiness is what reveals a true Christian versus a non-Christians.
All men, whether they believe in their Creator or not, seek to live out the idea that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But when the “Creator” becomes our Father, how we pursue this happiness will be very different.
So what does the Bible say about happiness? In summary, the Bible says that true and lasting happiness is found in God alone, through Jesus Christ alone.