What does it truly mean to be HAPPY?
There’s this one desire that most of us, if not all of us, have been wanting-- it’s HAPPINESS. There are tons of self-help books about it, we hear “I wish you happiness” during our birthdays and holidays and if you ask people what they are striving to achieve in life, the common answer is “happiness.”
The meaning of happiness can differ from person to person. To some, it’s seeing their dreams come true; whether it’s their dream job, dream car, or dream house. For others, it might be seeing their family well provided for, or for some people it might be growing their business.
A lot of things can be equated to happiness and most of us are striving for this goal whether we admit it or not.
But what does it truly mean to be HAPPY and is it possible for us to achieve it?
In the Bible, there was a man who had experienced all the pleasures of life. In fact, he had been the richest man during his time-- with houses, slaves, herds and flocks and all the riches anyone could ever wish for. He was also the wisest man, his name was Solomon.
Solomon shared his reflections about his life in the book of Ecclesiastes. He gave an account of his life and how he concluded it near the end of his life. Let’s see what we can learn from him:
“So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11)
After reminiscing about all the wealth that he had, he concluded “It was all meaningless-- like chasing after the wind.” After all the hard work that he gave to acquire all his riches, he found it all meaningless.
So is it wrong to be happy?
You see, all the things mentioned above about happiness are not wrong. In fact, we can all agree that God desires for us to be happy and to experience a full life while we are here on this earth. In fact, before sin came, God created us to enjoy everything that He created and also to be satisfied with it and our relationship with Him. God’s original design was that we would live our lives free from sin and suffering. Maybe this is also the reason we long to be happy-- we were created to live an abundant life.
When sin came into the picture, it destroyed God’s original design. Now we have to face its consequences...we are living in a fallen world. But God in His graciousness, made a way for us to have happiness and satisfaction through reconciling our lives to Him. God gave His only Son as a sacrifice for our sin so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.
These are the two things that we have to remember:
We are created and designed to be happy.
We are longing for happiness because we were made to be happy but because of sin, the world’s standard of happiness became flawed. If we spend our lives seeking what the world defines as happiness, we are chasing after the wind, as Solomon says because what the world offers is continually fleeing. The money, the fame, even the relationships that we have will eventually end.
It’s okay to long for happiness, but it’s important to determine if we are chasing what will give us happiness that lasts or happiness that’s fleeting?
We can find true happiness in God
In the world where all things are fleeting, God is the only One who will remain from eternity past to eternity future. God is the only One who can fill our lives with happiness and joy that will last. He is our true security.
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever. (Psalm 16:11)
As C.S Lewis said, “You can't get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first.” Meaning it is not wrong to find happiness by having our dreams come true or by seeing your family well provided for, but know that those are just second things. God is the First thing.
You can freely enjoy second things once you acknowledge that God is always above those things. You will not be enslaved to the fear of losing them because your security is anchored in God, whom you can’t lose.
Seeking happiness outside of God will lead to emptiness.
Let’s not chase after the wind but let’s cling to God, and be satisfied in Him.