Don’t worry. In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells us three times, “Do not worry.” Refuse to panic. Stop wallowing in fear. Don’t lose your peace. Keep your mind from endlessly mulling over the negative possibilities in life. Instead, keep your focus on the Lord who loves you.
Be happy. The Bible gives plenty of examples of circumstantial happiness. Leah was happy when she gave birth to a son. The Israelites were happy when they prospered and when they held festivals.
We all have days when our circumstances make us smile, but seldom can we create those days or manipulate those circumstances. Thankfully, God tells us about another kind of happiness that never depends on where we are, who we are or what we have.
- “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Ecclesiastes 2:26 NIV).
- “May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful” (Psalm 68:3 NIV).
- “Happy is the man God corrects” (Job 5:17 KJV).
Is happiness a state of well-being? Horatio Spafford was able to pen the famous hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” shortly after his four daughters died in a shipwreck. His well-being rested in trusting God.
Perhaps happiness is a sense of order, of “all’s right with the world.” All will never be right with this world, but as my college chaplain used to say, “God is on his throne. His promises are true.” Those two rock-solid facts are all we need to let happiness filter in through the hard times, stemming from an utter conviction that God is ordering things according to his plan.
What about contentment? Surely that is an important element of happiness. Paul explained that the strength Christ gave him was his secret to being content in every situation.
Do we need love or a greater purpose in life in order to be happy? Our Lord offers both.
Hannah Whitall Smith wrote, “Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness, if only we had perfect confidence in the power we were obeying.”[i] So maybe happiness boils down to trusting the Lord.
Does that cover it, or is the definition more complicated? How do you define happiness? I’d love to read your thoughts, so please post them here!
[i] Hannah W. Smith, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life (Boston: Willard Tract Repository, 1875), 199.