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How Can I Be Happy?Blaise Pascal said, "All men seek happiness." This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves."
Christians want to be happy, and God wants us to be happy. But maybe we should say instead that God wants us to have joy. Happiness depends upon things that happen. But the joy of God lives forever in our hearts, regardless of circumstances. The Bible outlines the key to joy in several key facets as follows:
In order to experience true godly happiness, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ. This means that he/she must accept that fact that he/she is a sinner, and likewise accept God's free saving grace through the blood of Christ who died on the cross for our sins. Furthermore, the believer must then maintain his/her grace orientation. This includes acting in faith rest and avoiding legalism (Romans 6:14). One can't be up tight and legalistic, and be happy. The believer must maintain a grace attitude of "forgive and forget" (Ephesians 4:32). Also, the believer must grow in this grace, and meditate on it (2 Peter 3:18).
Charles Spurgeon argued that one is compelled to be happy simply by knowing that his sins are forgiven and he is saved (Isaiah 25:9b). Although this sounds simplistic, happiness is indeed inevitable through all that it implies. With the realization of this most important forgiveness, we can then maintain the positive mental attitude required for happiness. We must relax (Philippians 4:5-6a), and we must not complain (Philippians 2:14). Furthermore, we must avoid two very important sources of unhappiness: anger, or bitterness (Ephesians 4:31), and self-pity (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Although we all have daily essentials (Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19), our attitude of grace enables us to keep these necessities in perspective. Particularly in the current American society, we must be especially careful to keep the necessity of money in the proper perspective (Hebrews 13:5-6).
We learn the keys to happiness from the Bible, so we can't be happy without learning them through regular Bible study, and meditating on God's word (John 14:15, Ephesians 4:15,20).
Happiness also requires that we maintain our temporal fellowship with God through prayer. We are assured of that fellowship through confession (1 John 1:9), and then we can be assured of his response to our supplications (Philippians 4:6-7). With such assurances, how can we be unhappy?
Furthermore, happiness requires fellowship with other believers (Ephesians 4:31). We must maintain loving relationships with our fellow believers, and be careful to avoid mental attitude sins such as hatred and revenge (Romans 12:17-21).
The book of Philippians offers the key to happiness. This is evidenced by Paul's calling of believers to share in his happiness in Philippians 4:4-9, even while he was in chains: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Paul is telling us that in order to be happy, we must relax, pray, think godly thoughts, and perform God's will.
Owen Weber 2009