To be happy or to experience happiness is one of the most sought feelings in the world. People seek happiness at almost anything all the time.
But the usual happiness doesn’t last. It is only temporary. Like a dream, it will come and go.
Is it possible to attain true happiness in this life? How did the Bible explain happiness? And how can servants of God feel true happiness in this life?
We cannot deny the fact that there are many things in this life that bring us happiness. Solomon mentioned in his writings that feasts, wine, food and money bring us happiness and joy in life. (Ecles. 10:19)
People think that it is okay to enjoy life now because life is short. They believe that we have to enjoy life while we are strong and while we are alive, because we cannot do it anymore when we are sick or dead. People grab the chance to enjoy life. (Isa 22:13) Instead, you will rejoice, celebrate, slaughter cattle, and butcher sheep. You will eat meat, drink wine, and say, “Let’s eat and drink because tomorrow we’re going to die.”
But some people find their happiness in the works of their hands. They invent things for their pleasure and happiness. Technology today are pleasure driven, which many people find it interesting. And the more new ideas and inventions arise, the busier people had become. We become busy just to bring happiness in our lives. (Ecc 2:24) The best thing we can do is eat and drink and enjoy what we have earned. And yet, I realized that even this comes from God.
Some people find happiness in their wealth and money. For them, it is the most important thing in the world, and perhaps for the world to come. (Luke 12:19) Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself !’
Meanwhile, people who were not able to attain lots of wealth are envious of other people’s accomplishments. And this lead them to make actions that are against morality and spirituality. They believe this will make them happy. (Ecc 4:4) And I saw that the cause of all the work and of everything which is done well was man’s envy of his neighbour. This again is to no purpose and a desire for wind.
But the Bible tells us that anything that people desire, especially those things that make us happy, which were being envied by others will not last forever. These things lead to nothing. Happiness obtained from these things are not permanent. This is not the happiness we should strive to have. They are only temporary and will soon fade.
How will this happiness fade according to the Bible?
The Bible explains, (Prov. 14:13) Even while laughing a heart can ache, and joy can end in grief. People find happiness and enjoy life according to their pleasure. But mostly, their happiness becomes grief. This is true to some because they found happiness in wrong pleasure.
Not all pleasure are rightful to have.
There are types of pleasure activities that are sinful in nature and if done, certain consequences may come. Excessive drinking, smoking and using abusive substances are examples of pleasure which will result in sickness and much worst, death.
Youths today for example are victims of these worldly pleasures. Some of them suffer in the rehabilitation centers. Some of them lost control and suffering now from unwanted pregnancies. Their lives became miserable after being indulged with these so called pleasures. Now, some of them are repentant.
Another source of happiness is when people receive honor and praises. People felt happiness when honored and praised. But worldly honor fades. (Psalms 49 : 12) But man, though high in honor, does not remain; he is like the animals that perish.
Both honor and wealth will not last forever in this life. We were born with nothing and we will surely die with nothing. We cannot take anything when we die.
Wealth can be lost. It is not an assurance that we can be truly happy if we have money and wealth. (Ecles. 5 : 13 – 15) There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for their owners to their hurt. But those riches perish by evil use. And he brings forth a son, and nothing is in his hand. As he came forth from his mother’s womb naked, he shall return to go as he came. And from his labor he may not carry anything that may go in his hand.
David adds, (Psalms 49:16-18) Be not afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases; for when he dies he shall take nothing away; his glory shall not go down after him. For in his life he blessed his soul; yea, they praise you when you do well to yourself.
Although money and wealth can be used to serve God, but it doesn’t guarantee our salvation. We cannot buy salvation. Instead of using wealth to give glory and honor to God, people used them for their personal pleasure only. (Psalms 49: 6-8) Those who trust in their wealth, and their many riches, boast themselves. A man cannot at all redeem a brother, nor give to God a ransom for him, for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceases forever.
If honor and wealth are the usual basis of many people for happiness, this will not give them true happiness. Because true happiness are not found in material things. It usually comes from God. And what is that happiness coming from God?
Our thoughts as a servant of God must differ from the thoughts of an unbeliever. Therefore, our happiness must be different from the happiness obtained from material things.
Jesus said, (Luke 10 : 20) But don’t be glad because the evil spirits obey you; rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.”
Our happines comes from God, that is, the source of our happiness must come from serving Him, from loving Him, from listening to His words, from obeying His words and His commands. These are all our happiness as a servant of God. We are therefore happy serving God because we know that this will lead us to eternal life with Him.
As we experience different tests, trials and sufferings, we learn to endure things in life. The more we are afflicted, the more we become part of Christ’s sufferings. And this feeling gives us joy as a servant of God.
Even if the tests come repeatedly, we accept and face all of them, because we know that God will never give us tests that we cannot bear and we know that all these sufferings will lead us to eternal happiness with God. He wants us to feel an insignificant amount of pain, so that we may not learn to love this world. (1 Pet. 1 : 6-7) in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ
So, the present experiences are all part of being a true servant of God. We must be glad and be happy about these experiences. (Mat. 5 : 11 – 12) Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
A true Christian can be recognized as someone who can bear and endure everything while maintaining his faith and trust in the Lord. (1 Pet. 4 : 16) But if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God because of this.
We need to experience sufferings because they are all needed to test our faithfulness in God, to keep our faith stronger. But always remember that they are only temporary. (1 Pet 5:10) But the God of all grace, He calling us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, He will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Jesus promised, (John 16: 20-22) Truly, truly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. And you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. The woman has grief when she bears, because her hour has come. But when she brings forth the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, because of the joy that a man is born into the world. And therefore you now have sorrow. But I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
Our happiness is to serve the almighty God. Our happiness is to endure all things until the end.
(Romans 15:13 ) And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.