"How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you." (Psalm 128:1-2)
Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone is trying to be happy. The desire to be happy is not wrong; the Bible speaks of happiness often. Actually, God created us with the capacity to be happy. Even more, God intended for us to be happy, or we would not know the difference between happiness and unhappiness. What is depression but the absence of happiness?
If you want to understand the world, start here, the world is a place with about 7 billion people who are all seeking happiness. What I will do today or perhaps not do, flows from this desire to be happy. When you ask someone how they are, their answer, more than anything else, is based upon the degree to which they are happy. Virtually all our pursuits are efforts after happiness. A person seeks marriage because they believe being married will make them happy. A person may avoid marriage because they think that being married will make them unhappy. We want to find a job that we will enjoy because we know other jobs will make us unhappy. Our responses to others, by and large, are based upon whether they make us happy or not.
It is not wrong to want happiness, but if we don't understand who God is and who we are, the pursuit of happiness is very dangerous. Eve listened to the serpent because she believed the lie that by eating, she would be like God, the thought of which made her happy. Adam, her husband, ate what Eve offered him, knowing God forbade it but did so believing that it would make his wife happy. Cain killed Abel because he was convinced that not having Abel around anymore would make him happy.
Sin did many harmful things to us, and one of them is the distortion of happiness. For a brief time, Adam and Eve were happy, and that happiness was rooted in their understanding that they were made by God and for God. Happiness, simply put is only possible when we understand that God is preeminent and, being our Maker, knows what will make us happy. True, lasting, everlasting happiness can only be ours when we embrace the truth that we exist to be in relationship with the One who made us and to live for His honor and glory, not our own.
Sin makes everything about us, and it makes happiness our god. Sin also deceives us so that the things we are convinced will make us happy make us unhappy and harm us. Scan the world over and see the many people who have obtained everything you might think will make you happy: money, power, fame, the fulfillment of every bodily pleasure, self-governance. Is it not startling to see the people who have achieved these things to great degree in misery? It is not uncommon that these "successful" ones commit suicide either instantaneously or over time. Why is this? They have everything they thought would make them happy but have tragically found out that the things that promised them happiness did not deliver.
Pursuing happiness is dangerous, and eternally deadly when we are determined to think we know what will make us happy instead of letting our Maker show us the way to happiness. Here is the deal, happiness is not a thing, and it is not a possession or a pleasure. Happiness is a person. Happiness is being rightly related to the God who made you and wants your happiness and can deliver it through His presence in your life.
How is your pursuit of happiness going? I'm sure some will say that their pursuit has been quite successful. They may have life just as they think it should be. Well, here is the question, "Of what lasting nature is your happiness?" Is your happiness rooted in you? Is it based upon something that can be taken from you? Will time and death take it from you? Will you be happy in eternity?
If you want to be happy, seek the One who is the source of true happiness. Seek the One who wants happiness for you more than you do. Seek the One who won't lie to you about what can make you happy. Seek the One who loves you enough to tell you that you are mistaken in your pursuit of happiness. Seek the One who cannot be taken from you. Every happiness apart from God is sand running through an hour glass, disappearing before your eyes. But God can never be taken from you. Even more, this life is just a sampling of an eternal happiness, an unmeasurable happiness when we are finally with the source of happiness, God Himself.