THE WAY TO TRUE HAPPINESS
We all want to be happy, fulfilled, loved by those around us and blessed by God. By being born again, God has put within us everything we need so that we can have happy and abundant lives. When we asked Jesus to come into our hearts and be our Lord, the Holy Spirit came to live within us, with all the character of God, which is His fruit.
- Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
We cannot excel in all these positive character traits in our own strength, because human nature is characterized by being the opposite. The Bible urges us to walk being led by the Holy Spirit, because it is the only way to develop the character of our Lord in us and rid us of the character we inherited by birth and developed while living in this fallen world.
- Galatians 5:16-18 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
It is not enough to be born again to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. It is a process and we must do our part, to be willing to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say and then follow through. He is the inner witness of the heart, who rejoices when we make the right choices and grieves when we make the wrong ones. When we take the time to analyze our behavior and emotions, we notice that the Holy Spirit was always there within us and guided us, even though many times we did not realize it. Surely you have often said something like, “I knew I should not do this, that it would cost me!” or: “I knew this was going to happen! I wish I would have listened to my first thoughts.” Such experiences confirm that the Spirit of the Lord warned us by placing His thoughts within our spirits, but because we believed that it was just our mind we heard, we ignored it. As we pay more attention to our thoughts, filtering them with the Scripture, we grow in discerning their source. The thoughts that come from our mind are based on our desires, fears, the effects of previous experiences and what we have learned. The thoughts that come from the devil are contrary to Scripture, even though they may contain some truth, or the Word of God, but twisted. The enemy urges us to sin and then condemns us for our sins, including those of which we sincerely repented of. He also induces fear, terror and negative emotions. The devil is the source of evil, falsehood and destruction. The thoughts that come from the Holy Spirit are according to Scripture and produce the positive character and emotions of His fruit: His thoughts also teach us what is best for us, reveal the truth of God and convict us of sin until we repent and ask God to forgive us.
The more we listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit and when we are warned that we are about to get angry, think, say or do what we will regret later, we stop and ask Him to help us calm down and obey the Lord's will, the more may we allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to manifest in us and become our character. Only by doing so, we may live to please God and love others. To love people is a choice that makes us much happier. When we choose to treat others well, as we would like to be treated, we spare ourselves of many problems, sorrows and pains. As a result, we can be happier, smile more, obey the Lord's will, be more lovable and of course, happier.
“Merriam-Webster” Dictionary defines “happiness” as “a state of well-being and contentment: joy.” What can give us more emotional and mental satisfaction than being filled with the Holy Spirit, who is God Himself, the author of happiness? Would have Jesus said that He came so that we, His sheep, might have an abundant life (John 10:10), if He would not have prepared all we needed to have it? All that is written in the Bible is true. God does not waste words, nor does He have a purpose to deceive us. He is holy, righteous, just and fulfills what He promises. The word "abundant," is defined as "existing or occurring in large amounts, marked by great plenty (as of resources).” This means that because of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross, we can have a rich life, having more than enough, so that we may bless others, too. In God's economy, we receive more if we give more. If we are faithful with the tithe and are obedient to the Holy Spirit when He tells us to give to those in need, the heavenly Father blesses us takes care of our needs.
- Galatians 5:24-26 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
How can we crucify our carnal nature and all its lusts? We know that whatever is alive will die when it is not nourished and hydrated. We cannot "kill" our nature once and it be gone forever, because we have to live in these bodies of flesh until the Lord takes us from this earth. So what do we do? Jesus said that we have to renounce self-rule in our lives (deny ourselves), take up our cross daily and then follow Him (Luke 9:23). When we take up the cross, we recognize that our flesh deserves to die and we agree that it should no longer lead us. The life of a Christian is full of daily decisions and choices.
The level of our happiness depends on how often we make good choices and how quickly we sincerely ask God to forgive us, when we sin. We do not nourish our carnal nature when we do not feed its lusts and do not react as the flesh desires. We are no longer under the rule of law and of sin, so we no longer have to obey the lusts of our sinful nature. God has already equipped us with everything we need to be able to fulfill all that He asks us to do! Hallelujah!
We can wide open the gate to happiness, if we understand that the fulfillment of the lusts of our carnal nature can only offer us a pseudo-happiness for a moment, and it will cost us dearly after. On the other hand, the life lived to please God, obeying His will, gives us the only true and lasting happiness.
But in order for the gate of happiness to remain open, it is important to understand that it is up to us to set our “mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). In order to have the right perspective on life and on everything that happens to us, we must analyze everything from God’s viewpoint, which we find in His Word. We will be much happier if we have the right mindset and remember daily, that God loves us and certainly nothing bad will happen to us, that cannot be solved with His help. God wants us to pass the tests well, to overcome the adversities of life and the attacks of the evil one, and in the end to spend eternity with Him.
Pessimistic people always see the empty half of the glass and worry about what is missing, without being able to rejoice that the glass is not empty yet, they still have one half. The optimists do not even notice that half of what they had is gone, on the contrary, they are happy with what they have left and do not worry that it may not be enough. Before I returned to the Lord, I was quite pessimistic and there was always things to worry about. But praise God, He helped me change! It is true that sometimes I still have to fight to not fall into the old way of dealing with difficulties, but the sooner I remember how much the Lord loves me, that He never forsakes me, that nothing is impossible for Him and that whatever comes my way, the Lord will use for my good, in the long run, then my joy returns and I can keep my peace in the midst of the storm. The Lord does not leave us alone not even for a moment, He is permanently in us and will always be, as long as we want to be His.
- Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Through the natural birth, we inherited Adam’s mortal nature. Through the new birth, of the everlasting seed of the Holy Spirit, we received immortality and eternal life. But in order for us to reign in life, to be happy and benefit of all the best that our heavenly Father has for us, we must receive the “abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness” through Jesus Christ! If we do not receive the grace of the Lord and His righteousness in their fullness, we may be saved, but miss many of the blessings prepared for us and not be able to reign in life. Happiness is the result of intense and full inner thankfulness and cannot be achieved through our own performances and actions. Only after we receive the unmerited gift of salvation and become pure by accepting the righteousness of Christ, are we able to reject the condemnations and lies of the devil, who constantly seeks to steal our happiness and destroy us. Only if we know the truth from God’s Word and the identity we have in Jesus, can we be free and have lasting happiness!
- 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
The Holy Spirit introduces us to the mysteries of God. Only with His help can we understand the meaning of the Bible, which is different and often opposed to human thinking. The natural man, who is not born again, cannot understand what the Holy Spirit has to say and cannot obey God's will. What wonderful grace has been given to us, as the Son of God revealed Himself to us and through Him we have been adopted in the heavenly family, becoming children of God and co-heirs with Jesus who died in our place for our sins! Hallelujah! There is no greater happiness than to be the children of God, not only as long as we live in these bodies, but for all eternity!!!
Another amazing fact about being born-again, is that in the spirit we are perfect and there we have not only the character but also the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), that is, the totality of His thoughts, which means that as we grow spiritually we can think more and more like Jesus. When we spend time in the presence of the Lord, in praise and worship, we communicate with Him in prayer, we study and meditate on His Word, we have the intimate fellowship that the Lord desires to have with each of us. As we spend more quality time with Jesus, His character will increasingly replace our character. Love will replace indifference and hatred; joy will be more and more present, while unhappiness and sadness will become less and less; peace and tranquility will replace worry, fear and anxiety; goodness and kindness will replace evil and intolerance; we will become more patient and tolerant and it will be easier for us to stop our natural desires and impulses. We will become more pleasant company for those around us, we will make much better decisions and as a result of all these, we will be happier.
- Psalms 4:8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Also, the peace and calm that come from trusting God open the gates of happiness. Hundreds of verses show this truth, throughout Scripture. The firm belief that the Lord will never leave us, will be rewarded. “Jehovah Jireh” is truly the God who cares and does not forsake His children, not even for a second! He helps us in every difficult situation and even if a door is closed, He opens a window. If we keep our hearts clean and with an unwavering trust in Him during the testing or transition periods, He will open another door more suitable for us than the one that was closed. What seems to us to be a failure, can become the starting point for true success, and what makes us suffer, may be the tool that helps develop the character and integrity we need to fulfill God’s calling for our lives. No matter what we have to go through, we can be sure that as long as we follow Jesus, all things and circumstances will work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
- Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
- Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Only a grateful heart can be full of joy and taste happiness. He who is always dissatisfied, has mostly bad days and does not know how it feels to be happy. For Jesus to fill our whole being, we have to give it all to Him and in doing so one makes the wisest choice. If we are full of Jesus, we are also full of the Word of God, and because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45), we will speak according to Scripture and have a thankful heart full of praises to the Lord.
The Hebrew word translated with "goodness and mercy" is "towb" and in this verse it is used as a noun with the meaning of "well-being, prosperity and happiness."
- Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
David understood that true happiness comes only from totally trusting in the Lord and is directly dependent upon the level of relationship we have with Him. David does not say that he will go weekly to the house of the Lord, but that he will dwell where His presence is, as long as he lives. We will have a happy life if we live in the presence of the Lord too, not only visiting His House once a week. Unlike David, we have the privilege of having the Holy Spirit in us, wherever we are. The relationship that the Lord desires with us is a close, profound one, of total dependence; a permanent relationship, not a seasonal one. Jesus does not want to be our Lord only when we are struggling and suffering, but He wants us to remain in Him and Him to be in us all the time.
The apostle Paul wrote, how important it is for us to pray for a deeper knowledge of the Lord's will, so that we may have all the wisdom and understanding we need. When we live in a pleasing way to God, we can more easily identify and reject the lies of the devil and be much happier.
- Colossians 1:9b-12 ... to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
In conclusion, the source of the greatest happiness is to empty ourselves of worldly desires and ask the Lord to fill us with the knowledge of His will, in all areas of life. Only by doing so, are we able to live to please God, which is the source of true happiness. We all face doubts, fears, frustrations, failures, sins, regrets, loss of dear ones, hurts from others, diseases, shortcomings and attacks of the devil. But if we choose to do the will of the Lord, the Holy Spirit will help us to have the right attitude and behavior, regardless of the situation. He will strengthen us by giving us all the power we need to patiently endure the trials we go through, thanking the Lord for the wonderful future that He is preparing for us in heaven to be with Him, for eternity! If we seek success in terms of the world and choose to please people at any cost, we can never be happy. But the more we live to please God, the more we are under His protection and the more we can truly be happy!
BIBLE VERSES ABOUT HAPPINESS
Deuteronomy 30:9-10 The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 33:29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, and you shall tread down their high places.
1 Kings 10:8 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!
2 Chronicles 6:41 “Now therefore, arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation and let Your saints rejoice in goodness.”
Job 8:6-7 If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly.
Job 22:21-23 "Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth and lay up His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up;”
Psalms 4:6-8 There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalms 16:5-6 O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, yes, I have a good inheritance.
Psalms 25:12-13 Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.
Job 5:17 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
Psalms 144:15 Happy are the people who are in such a state; happy are the people whose God is the Lord!
Psalms 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding;
Proverbs 14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Proverbs 16:20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
Proverbs 28:14 Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.
Romans 14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what He approves.