Most people deep down inside want to be happy. It’s even in our Declaration of Independence that in the United States of America we want to be happy. Even those who say they don’t want to be happy, and want to be unhappy, find a certain happiness in their unhappiness. You may be surprised to know that God wired you to want to be happy, and according to the Bible, you can be happy—you should be happy. But you just need to look for it in the right place.
Here are a few places not to look for happiness.
- Being beautiful or handsome will not bring personal happiness. Sometimes people think, “If I was as handsome or beautiful as the people that I see in magazines or as the movie stars, I’d be happy.” We’re always trying to look our best with surgery, airbrushing, Photoshop, Instagram filters, and other enhancements. But there will always be someone more attractive, and physical attractiveness will not make you happy.
- Personal possessions will not bring personal happiness. Your life may improve or be more comfortable, but possessions will not bring the real happiness you’re searching for. For many, having more money leads to depression. Proverbs 27:20 says, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied” (NKJV).
- Having relationships will not make you happy. We are wired for a relationship. We are wired to have someone to love and marry one day. That’s not bad, but if you say marriage is going to make you happy, you are going to be in for a big shock. People let us down. Parents let down children. Children let down parents. Husbands let down wives. Wives let down husbands.
- Pursuing pleasure will never bring personal happiness. There are many fine pleasures in life that are good. A nice meal. A beautiful sunset. Time with people you love. Those are good pleasures, and then there are perverse pleasures that are sinful. The Bible even says these can be fun for a time, but there are repercussions. 1 Timothy 5:6 says that she “who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (NKJV).
- The only place to find real lasting happiness is in a relationship with God. We cannot have happiness and peace apart from Him.
- The people that know God are the happiest people. We have hope, we forgive, we forget, and we have faith.
Here’s the bottom line of Paul’s happiness, found in Philippians 4:4. He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (NASB). That is the key. It is rejoicing in the Lord. It is not rejoicing in your condition, rejoicing in your circumstances, rejoicing in your current emotional state, or something else. It’s rejoicing in the Lord and filling your mind with the truth of God. It changes your outlook. I’m not talking about positive thinking. I’m talking about having a mind that is filled with God’s truth—having the mind of Christ.