We live in a broken world. No matter who you are and how you feel, you’ve experienced times of pain and sadness. If you were asked if you would like to be happier, chances are you would say yes. In the midst of this brokenness, some will question the presence of God and wonder whether our happiness matters to God. Is our happiness one of God’s top priorities? The answer is absolutely, positively yes. The Bible says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Our happiness is so important to God that when we achieve it in Him, we draw closer to His heart and His Kingdom. If we understand that our happiness matters to God, the next question becomes how to pursue it in a way that pleases Him.
It’s important that when we talk about God’s interest in human happiness, we touch on a few principles first. One is that we are made in the image of a loving God. God loved the world so much that He gave His only son so that we may not perish, but have eternal life. Yesterday, He loved you. Today, He loves you. Tomorrow, He loves you. Nothing will change that. The next principle deals with our desire to love others. Though we are flawed as a result of sin, we still retain a desire to love others as God loves. The Bible says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). God is love and this love has real power to free us from our own brokenness. Next, whether you’re looking at modern science or traditional wisdom, both affirm that generosity and altruism create longer lasting feelings of well-being than self-centered pleasure seeking. When we practice selfless concern for the well-being of others, which is what God has modeled for us, we experience greater inner-happiness. When we are more focused on pleasure seeking, it takes our hearts away from God. This leaves us feeling empty because God is not present in these desires of the heart and our soul desires God. Finally, the virtuous cycle of doing good and feeling good is God’s design to shape us more fully in God’s image. The key is that these two are working together and not against each other. When the two are in partnership, there is balance. In this model, God is still at the heart of our inner-happiness. However, when these two repel each other, God is no longer the focus. Pleasure-seeking becomes the focus. There is no room for God in this model.
Many of us do good things in part because it’s good for us. Some of the things we do are not pleasurable or rewarding initially, but paying attention to our pleasure in doing good has great significance. When we do, it makes us more like Jesus. While we shouldn’t look at doing good works as a way to earn salvation or favor with God, when we are aware of our own pleasure and God’s pleasure, we can then better disciple to others. Jesus said, “By this, all men will know you are disciples: if you love one another” (John 13:35). Love is at the heart of discipleship. We cannot love others without the desire to love. This is the will of God.
In the book, “The Happiness Dare” author Jennifer Dukes Lee openly talks about her experience with anxiety attacks. Four months after a particular anxiety attack, she prayed through tears that her circumstances would change. Two years later, the circumstances were almost identical. While God didn’t answer her prayer to change her circumstances, He is doing something greater in her life: He is changing her. While there are days she wishes she could go back to how things were before the anxiety attacks, and there are day that she prays that God will work a miracle and change her circumstances that led to her anxiety attacks, she continues to glorify His name and trusts in His will. “Blessed be His name anyway,” she says. God is always good and He is always working. He can be your happiness.
Your anxious mind can be calmed when you trust in God and rest inside the arms of Christ. Our happiness is eased when we are more Christ-minded. The great rescue of a great Savior can bring happiness to your heart and mind that is bigger than anything you could ever imagine. Take delight in God, for He is good. If you are ready to begin a holy hunt towards happiness and discover your truest most satisfied self, read “The Happiness Dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee.