How best can we define happiness?
It's that illusive desire for contentment in our hearts. It seems like we spend most of our lives trying to figure out what it is that gives us that feeling, that sense of accomplishment, that feeling that all is right in the universe.
We use 'happiness' to describe many different things. We will talk about a person who is a little ‘too happy’ and we wish people we hardly know "Happy Birthday!" There is also that spring-like happiness that comes with a new relationship, a new job or a new baby. But the problem with this kind of happiness is that it's circumstantial and circumstances change. The new relationship evolves into an old familiar relationship and the new exciting job morphs into a boring predictable routine.
It seems that all of the avenues we explore in an effort to find lasting happiness eventually lead to a dead-end of disappointment. That's not the way it's supposed to be. In fact there is a happiness that transcends our physical environments and circumstances. The source is not external but internal. It can't be measured in dollars and cents nor is it the product of social status.
The Bible speaks of happiness in terms of peace and joy. Jesus describes how the Holy Spirit provides a peace different from what the world offers and the apostle Peter, in his letter to the early, persecuted church, speaks of an inexpressible joy. Isn't it ironic that Peter describes a group of people, who have been stripped of everything we typically pursue in life, as having so much joy they can't express it? These followers of Jesus had become impoverished refugees forced to leave their homes and their livelihoods, and Peter describes them as inexpressibly happy. How does that make sense?
What we are really searching for in terms of happiness is best described in what the Bible classifies as fruit of the Spirit:
“…Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…"
Take an honest look at the list above. Can you honestly think of anything your soul craves that isn't rooted in this list? The mistake we all make is that we think we can buy it. We can’t!
God’s Word teaches us that the only source of our fulfillment is the Holy Spirit and that the path to the Holy Spirit is through a relationship with God in the person of Jesus.
You can be certain that the lasting peace and joy you crave will not be permanently satisfied through a new human relationship, or a new career, or a new drug, or a winning lottery ticket. In fact, true happiness is only available through the divine purpose of a spiritual relationship with your Maker.
Jesus often told stories in the form of short parables to make his point. He said:
"The kingdom of heaven [where true happiness is found] is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
May you discover the true happiness you seek!