“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17 NLT

“We are H-A-P-P-Y, we are H-A-P-PY. We know we are; we are sure we are. We are H-A-P-P-Y, Happy!”

Most of us were singing along to the “Happy” song because of how memorable and nostalgic it is. Growing up, we were encouraged to be happy and not sad. Even as we entered our teenage years and adulthood,  life and society sold us the idea that we should only do what makes us happy and always aspire for happiness. 

While being happy is not a bad thing, it becomes problematic when happiness is the end goal because, from numerous examples, we see that when the things people expect to make them happy don’t, they get depressed. Wealth, fame, career, and relationships are some things people bank their happiness on. Our anchor scripture tells us that there is more to life than these material things that bring temporary happiness. 

Being happy was not meant to be our life’s goal or mission because there is more to life than happiness! Contentment, pleasure and satisfaction are all synonyms of happiness, but true contentment, pleasure and satisfaction do not come from material things. They come from living a life of purpose. For us believers, that purpose is knowing Christ, living fully for Him and making Him known (Philippians 3: 10). 

Jesus Christ, Apostle Paul, and Martin Luther King Jnr. are a few examples of those who lived purposeful and meaningful lives. These men didn’t live in pursuit of happiness; if anything, they suffered more pain and sadness than most of the world as they received beatings even unto death (Mark 15: 17-20, 2 Corinthians 11: 23). However, they lived purposeful lives the way God ordained them to. Their lives inform us that purpose is more synonymous to sacrifice than with happiness. 

To make happiness the core of our existence is to water down what God has ordained us to do and be. If all we do is seek happiness, we will never commit to anything that requires sacrifice. Just look at the example of Jesus and saints of old, who suffered for God’s sake (John 15: 20, Hebrews 11: 34-37).

These people did not go through these ordeals simply because suffering and pain made them happy. However, they knew that by living for God, they would fulfil their purpose and live meaningful lives. Because of this knowledge, they were willing to stake everything, including their lives, to do God’s will. 

The interesting paradox is that when you find something worth dying for, you have also found something worth living for. Living simply to be happy is not worth dying for, so it cannot be worth being the focus of one’s life.  It is in living out purpose that we find true and lasting joy. Glory

Bible Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 1-6

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