Happiness; sought after state of mind (Biblical Perspectives)
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength”.
According to the bible, happiness is a much-sought after state of mind that all Christians need to be striving for. A quick review of my bible concordance suggests that “blessed” which is sometimes referred to as “happy” in modern versions, is one of its most popular words. In a biblical sense then, happiness is perfect soil for Christian life to flourish and grow in, why so?
When we examine Paul’s statement in Philippians, referred to above, we will notice that he is not talking about idealism or denial- his life was far from trial and tribulation-free. Paul suffered and yet he said that in spite of his ordeals- he had learned the secret of contentment.
Contentment defined, is a state of satisfaction or ease of mind. Paul goes on to say that he is equally content in conditions of “want” or “plenty” which are at opposite ends of the spectrum. So how does Paul manage to straddle extremes in experience and yet sail smoothly through his life? Later on in the text, he shares his secret “that he can do all things through him who gives him strength”.
To Paul then, contentment, satisfaction or happiness was not dependent upon circumstances- which is the common way of attributing such feelings to: we may be happy because we have a new job, a new car, we are in love, we’ve passed our exams, earning lots of money… Paul’s contentment was found not in a “thing” but in a “person”- the person of Christ who gave him strength. For the Christian happiness is an intrinsic experience- Christ within “the hope of glory”(Colossians 1:27). Paul also tells us that he learned the secret which suggests it is not a natural condition but one that requires a degree of discipline and effort. Whoever heard of having to work for happiness- well Paul tells us that is the “secret”.
So biblical happiness is learned and based upon thriving and surviving in difficult conditions. When we consider what other biblical writers have to say on the subject, they seem to concur with Paul:
In Job 5:17 we are told that we should be happy when God corrects us and this is echoed by James who says in James 1:2 that we should “count it all joy when we fall into temptation”. It doesn’t take long to work out that biblical happiness is strategic- a means to an end which is eternal and not temporal. Christ reinforces this message when He tells us that His mission is not about peace but about a sword, about taking up our cross and following Him whilst at the same time He says ultimate prize in all this suffering is “abundant life”.
So how do we attain happiness?
To conclude then, true happiness is a gift from God and is derived from disciplined training in Christian service. It is not fickle and dependent upon external conditions-it is created by the furnace of experience and moulded by arm of strength- “our very present help in the time of need” who reminds us that we can do all things through Him.
- It originates from God (Psalms 144:15)
- Hoping in God (Psalms 146:5)
- Trusting in God (Proverbs 16:20)
- Always fearing God (Proverbs 28:14)
- Keeping God’s law (Proverbs 29:18)
- Finding wisdom and getting understanding (Proverb 3:13)
- Showing kindness to those in need (Proverbs 14:21)
- Suffering for righteousness sake (1 Peter 3:14)
Collection of Biblical Perspectives
The Lifesaving Good News The gospel, otherwise known as the "good news", is described by Paul in Romans 1:16 as the "power of God unto salvation to all who believes"...more
Happiness; a much-sought after state of mind is, according to the bible, what all Christians need to be striving for...more
Nothing of Himself It’s interesting in the scriptures above that an important aspect of Christ’s mission was to reveal the character of God...more
Peace When placed in context of the scriptural passage, we find Jesus describing his mission on earth as God's spiritual peace envoy...more
My Faith Faith is intangible and invisible and yet it is an essential element in the Christian walk...more
Salvation: The Ark of God! We need not question any further; God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work in partnership to execute the mystery of salvation...more
The Anatomy of Repentance Paradoxically, when we are engaged in it, it is "sin" that feels like height and "repentance" that seems like depths...more
The Purpose of Joy Joy therefore is the natural response to the transformation brought about by divine intervention...more
Be Still And Know God Stillness is a state of mind- not moving or making a sound (adjective) deep silence and calm...more
Finding Our Purpose If we are made in the image and likeness of God, he expects us to have his character as well...more
Suffering to Learn from What is clear however is that God has designed suffering for us to learn from, praise Him for and gain righteousness in...more
Forgiveness God is the king who mercifully forgave the debt of ten thousand talents which was owed to him by one of his servants...more
Prayer In the parable prayer is characterised as an impossible activity: an exchange between the lowest of the low in society with the most inaccessible authority of the land...more
Weariness We need not succumb to fear when we have God on our side. If we exchange human fear with "fear of the Lord" we have wisdom...more
Have Faith in God! It is interesting that prayer is the essential component in developing faith in God...more
Thanksgiving He was a model intercessor whose primary motivation was God's glory (see Nehemiah 1:4-11)...more