Are you happy? How do you measure happiness? Do you even know what being happy feels and looks like? Before we go through this, let me tell you a little story:
There was a young man, let’s call him Frank. Now, Frank had a great family, a job that would ultimately trump any bragging conversation, and lived in the most beautiful city full of abundant opportunities. Frank had everything the world would consider the picturesque life, filled with ultimate happiness. Daily, Frank would have people approach him with glowing faces desiring his life. If for one day they could switch places with Frank they would never be unhappy.
Sounds like Frank is set, right? Oh, I forgot to mention, Frank professes to be a Christian. After a couple years of daily going through the motions of life, using up and taking full advantage of his great life, Frank began to see setbacks and snags enter the picture. It’s OK, he’s still bringing in the dough despite not performing in his job.
What he didn’t expect next was being relocated to a new city for work, because he’d been replaced due to low performance. But a change of scenery and position won’t set him back! If going out and spending thousands of dollars means he is good, then yeah, dude was jamming without a thought. OK, maybe he isn’t completely unfazed, but he’s making money and surrounding himself with people that still wish they were in his shoes.
He is good — well at least until the job disappears, meaning no more financial security, other than the little bit he managed not to blow on going out and on tangible possessions. Even with his spending, it’s really hard to burn through the kind of cash he’d been making the last few years. Social media still loves him, people still make a big deal of knowing him. With each hole made in Frank’s heart, there is something else to fill it and bring happiness.
There is still a measure of having the perfect life and it’s going to turn around. Why wouldn’t it? He has always had the breaks fall his way, so why would it be any different this time around?
What Frank doesn’t know is he has forgotten to consider the principle of sowing and reaping. He has seen this principle as only pertaining to good things, but the negative and wrongful seeds sown are not immune to this principle. So, you can begin to see the fallout in his life from the many poor decisions he’d not taken very seriously. Relationships being weakened and lost, opportunities that had been so prevalent before are not even showing their faces.
Frank, at this point, has lost all happiness and enjoyment in life, as well as the will to do something about it. That drive he had prior to the success that life had lavished upon him has quickly vanished. His desire to get out of bed in the morning has disappeared and the thought of fighting back is so overwhelming; the idea brings sadness and helplessness onto him like a thunderstorm. Let’s just say his “happiness” was only dependent on his current earthly position and possessions in life.
Why are we set on seeing our happiness through the lens of a broken, cursed world? Is our happiness dependent or reliant on something else? If this is the case, then we as individuals cannot produce it in our own lives, at least long-term. Yes, we can buy a new outfit or new gadget, but if our happiness is relying on those experiences, we will either run out of money attempting to stay happy or we will become calloused to the feeling and it won’t give that high we once saw so satisfying.
What does the Bible say about this “state of being and contentment” later defined as happiness? The Bible uses a Greek word that is close to a word we relate to happiness. That word is “‘Esher,” which means happiness or the state of being because of outside happenings.
Scripture uses happy in a manor ALWAYS dependent on something else or happenings. Interesting how “happiness” comes from “happenings.” Do you see the relation there where one is dependent on the other? The world promises happiness through money, jobs, beautiful relationships, big homes, etc. You know where I’m going with this…
What does God say He promises to those who trust Him and walk in His ways? Psalm 128 tells us that children bring a man happiness and “happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 144:15, KJV). Second Chronicles states that men who seek wisdom will find happiness. In 1 Peter and James we see that those who endure for the glory of Christ suffer for righteousness sake. These things don’t really appeal to the world and society in which we live today.
I’m not saying earthly possessions are evil and we shouldn’t strive for things. I’m saying our focus ought to be on the Giver of the gifts. If our reverence is on God the Father, we have joy — joy in Jesus’ sacrifice and in His faithfulness.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” — Psalm 34:8
Satisfaction is found completely in God’s house, His way, His love. The Psalms speak so much of the blessings of the man who makes God his eternal treasure. This is a very real happiness only offered through the treasures of God.
Let us find freedom in seeking first His Kingdom and then watching His love be lavished upon us in ways we could have never imagined!
— Victor Black, professional pitcher
Victor Black is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
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