One of the great lies that the world has set forth is that “life is too short for you not to be happy”. Now let me just stop here and say if this world is the only hope you have then maybe you are right but if you believe in something more then the truth is life is eternal. This way of thinking is all about what makes someone happy. This lie had caused husbands and wives to leave their families, caused people to enter into a destructive lifestyle, and caused people to walk away from God. Many people that buy into this way of thinking come to realize the lie way too late in life. I read the other day that more than 80% of those that divorce because they had an affair regret it within the first year. They find out that the lie of “happiness” was not all it was cut out to be. Our society has bought into the ideology that “being happy” is the ultimate goal. But there is a problem with that what of thinking and this what is the definition of true happiness.
You see happiness is relevant to the moment in which you live. In other words, what makes you happy today is not necessarily going to make you happy tomorrow. Happiness in this world is all ways moving. Happiness is like shooting an apple off of a fence post on a horse at full gallop with a blindfold on. The fact is that happiness is not a constant and no matter what we have it is never enough to keep us satisfied. I remember when I was about five or six and I wanted more than anything a Huffy off-road bike. I mean I just knew if I had a Huffy off-road bike I would be so happy and never want anything else because that would be the climax of gifts. Sure enough, I got the Huffy bike for my birthday and I was so happy. For weeks I rode that bike all around and I was so happy with my Huffy bike. About a month after I got it one of my friends got a real dirt bike. All of the sudden my Huffy off-road bike did not compare to the real motorcycle of my friend. Yes, my happiness for the Huffy bike was gone and I wanted a real dirt bike. That is the problem with worldly happiness; it is all ways changing on you. If stuff, money, power, and fame were the measure of true happiness the wealthy Hollywood types would be the happiest people in the world and yet we see where that is just not true. The news is filled with stars that commit suicide, have substance abuse problem, etc. They have bought into the lie that life is too short to be unhappy.
So what is the answer? The Apostle Paul writes at least three letters to the Corinthian church, two that we have and one that is mentioned. The church was facing many of the problems that we face today, such as sexual immorality, greed, racist, and disunity. There were many that believed that being a Christian meant that they should be happy and that happiness was the ultimate goal. In chapter 15 Paul writes one of the most powerful theological understandings of the resurrection. You see there were many in the church that was teaching that there was no resurrection and therefore a person should just do what they wanted to and if they lived for God and Jesus did not come before they died that they were just out of luck. Paul shares in verse 19 that if the only hope we had were in this world and what it has to offer then we would all are most miserable people. Paul wanted them to know that our hope is not in this world and what it has to offer, it is not in the pleasure that is fading, or in the power that is allusive but true hope and happiness is in the knowledge of Jesus our savior. You see true happiness comes from knowing Jesus and having a right relationship with Him. No matter what you have today that makes you happy there are no guarantee that is going to make you happy tomorrow, not if it is from this world. The reason is everything produced by this world is temporary.
Now maybe you are thinking I know I need to have a relationship with Jesus so we can go to heaven. The truth is that living for Jesus and the happiness that it brings is birth out of true joy and true joy does not come because of a future destination but rather a true relationship that we have with the one whom all joy comes out of. Living for Jesus brings happiness not because I am going to go to heaven and escape hell, but it brings true happiness because I have a relationship with this God of all things. The reward of living for Jesus is not just in what is to come but it is in the moment in which I live right now. For all the Christians out there let me ask you this questions, if you knew for certain there was no heaven or hell would you still live for Jesus? Let me go even deeper, what if you knew for certain there was no hell and that everyone went to heaven when they died, which is another lie that seems to be going around, would you still live for Jesus? The truth is that the full joy of living for Jesus is not found in what is coming but rather in what He is doing everything moment of every day in our lives. The reward is not just in what I will receive when this life has come to a conclusion but the true reward begins in the now moment.
Happiness that comes from this world and the things of it are at best temporary, but the happiness that comes from having a right relationship with Jesus is eternal. The eternity that they spring out of does not start in the faraway future but rather it begins the moment that Jesus comes into our heart. Do not buy into the lie that happiness is the ultimate goal because it leaves us in a state of endless disappointment. Though you may find happiness for moments you will soon find that those moments are fleeting and never truly fulfill you. The only thing that can maintain happiness is the joy of the Lord, which comes through having a right relationship with Jesus. He is must be the ultimate goal of life. When He is there is a true joy, true peace, and yes true happiness because it does not require happenings.