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Happiness Is . . . . .

Happiness is . . .

   What is happiness?   Happiness is something defined in various ways by different people. That is because different things make them “happy”, or at least think they do. Happiness is a feeling, and feelings are subjective. In my research I found that some of the chemicals released in the brain that produce that “euphoric” feeling in response to happiness are: endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin. The problem with this is that different things cause the release of these chemicals in different brains.

   Suffice it to say that happiness is an “inner” quality. If your mind is at peace, though you have nothing else, you can still be happy.     If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy. I suppose the key is: what gives one “peace of mind”?   Again, this could be different things to different people, but what does God, the “creator” of the mind have to say about happiness and what brings it to man?

   The only way to know this is to go to God’s Word and read it. In Proverbs 29:18 we are told that keeping God’s Law produces happiness, but those who can’t “see” it are destined to perish.  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Another way the Bible says one is “happy” is to say they are “blessed”.  One place that says it this way is Psalms 112:1, and this verse also speaks of the “joy” we should find in the commandments of God. Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

   One who “fears” the Lord, delights in His Commandments and finds pleasure in following the Law of the Lord, obviously trusts in the Lord. Jeremiah 17:7 affirms this. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. While this is speaking of Israel, the same is true of us under the N.T. Law of God.  For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Colossians 1:5

     So, what makes you happy?  I don’t mean the fleeting elation one might feel when some pleasant surprise comes our way, but what brings us lasting happiness. That which can be taken away from us by others cannot possibly provide enduring delight. As Paul was directed by the Spirit in Romans 8:38-39 to write to those brethren, he was to tell them that which God has offered cannot be removed from us by anything or by anybody.   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

     But, we should be cautioned lest we allow ourselves to forget that we can forfeit the “blessings” and happiness we have in Christ.   In preparation for the kingdom when Jesus was preaching in the Sermon on the Mount, He warned the Jews which were present of the fallacy of holding the material things of the earth in higher regard than their service to God.  In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus gave them a solemn warning.   He said: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  The way in which one lives and the things to which they gravitate shows what they “think” makes them happy.  

     The Lord has always wanted His creation to be happy. It is also a fact that man has always had to face hardship on this earth since the time Adam and Eve sinned when the serpent deceived them with the prospect of carnal happiness. After man faces trial and tribulation, he should be happy, especially if he has passed the test.   If any ever had the opportunity to be unhappy it was Job. None would say he did not truly suffer.   In James 5:11 we are reminded of this as well as the “patience of Job.”   Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.  Surely Job was happy after his ordeal was over, and the mercy of God was such that Job received much more after his troubles because he remained faithful to God. No doubt Job’s true happiness was exhibited in his refusal to curse God for the calamity that came upon him.

   Those who use the quest for happiness as an excuse to live in sin, or to continue in conduct not conducive to true Christianity have shortchanged themselves. Unlike Moses in Hebrews 11:24-26, they want to “be happy” in sin in the “here and now” and in so doing, lose focus on the reward God has promised to those that love Him.   By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 

   Ask yourself - What is the “reward” in that which you think brings you happiness? Does it last beyond this life?   If not, that happiness will die when you die.  As Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 15:19, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  Won’t you seek true happiness today? Obey God’s Word.                         Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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