How to be Truly Happy

by Matthew Allen

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Abraham Lincoln

Are you happy? Truly happy? Have you found the joy that is found in Christian living? Christianity contains the keys to true happiness during our earthly existence. It is only in a relationship with God that we can find true inner peace and rejoice in the blessings of God. Paul wrote: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:4-5). Because of deep, abiding trust in God, the Christian can truly be happy in life, even while dealing with problems, setbacks, and trouble. Those who live with strong faith in God have a source of strength and delight that those outside of Christ have a hard time in understanding. Solomon wrote, "blessed is he who trusts in the Lord, and trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding … he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 16:20, 3:5-6). We must learn to let go. We enjoy being in control. And while we need to take personal responsibility for our actions, we must bring ourselves to the point to where we move in complete faith that God will lead and direct our lives. He will stand by us and help us negotiate the difficult turns life may bring. He will see that our needs are met, no matter what. Trust in God is directly related to genuine happiness. How much do we trust Him?

True happiness is found in righteous living. We are not talking about self righteous exaltation, but clean living which contributes to deep rooted joy and contentment. If we have fully given ourselves to Christ and are committed to serving Him it will be seen in our godly conduct. We will be devoted to filling our minds with good and wholesome things (Philippians 4:8). We will want nothing to do with behavior that can shackle us with guilt and regret because we have tasted the sweet fruit of righteousness. Paul wrote, "for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12).

True happiness is also found in worshipping God. It is a wonderful thing to assemble together to praise the Almighty God. Worship is for the glory of God and for the happiness of man. The Psalmist said, "O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us should joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence of with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods" (Psalm 95:1-3). As you sing hymns, think of who God is, how wonderful and mighty He is, and how deserving He is of our praise. We, as God’s creation have been created to worship! It can create true joy in our life. In the first century church we see new Christians praising God and possessing great joy when they were together worshipping God.

True happiness is found in contentment. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence! We may fret and complain more than we care to admit. We may gripe about our job, spouse, the weather, politics, the temperature of the room, and a host of other things. When griping, we may forget about the blessing of having a job or a spouse. We could always live somewhere where the weather is worse, or survive in a place without climate controlled amenities. When we become aware of the blessings we have, we should be able to reduce the amount of complaining. Paul wrote Philippians from a prison cell. There is no doubt that the Roman prisons of the first century didn’t have the creature comforts of our modern prison system, and yet Paul speaks of true happiness and joy through the epistle. There are only 104 verses in the letter and yet 15 times he speaks of joy or uses the word rejoice. In Chapter 4 he wrote, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:11-13). A contented person is a happy individual! Without contentment, joy is only superficial.

Finally, true happiness is found through our busy activity. When we are idle, it can stir up displeasure, restlessness, and mischief. Note Romans 12:11: "in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." Happiness comes to the person who works persistently, consistently, and with diligence. Think of the inward pride that can be generated through seeing a project completed. And, while we are busy it will keep our mind off things that are negative and inwardly destructive. Let us be busy with good things, wholesome things that will improve our spiritual and physical lives.

While the world seeks happiness in wealth, physical appearance, material possessions, and fleshly gratification, the Christian understands that true happiness is found in the spiritual. Where is your focus in life? If we will learn to shift the focus off of the seeking happiness in the physical we’ll be amazed at how true joy and happiness will fill our lives! "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Colossians 3:1-2).