I’m sure some of you clicked on the link thinking this has to be clickbait. No one in their right mind would tell people to stop trying to be happy. It isn’t clickbait. That really is the main point of this post. We all need to stop trying to be happy. In our culture today we are told that happiness should be the driving force of basically everything we do. If you are looking for who to marry, you are often told to find someone you are happy with. When picking a job it should be one that you are happy in. If you are looking for what college to go to, you need to make sure that you can be happy there. Same thing for finding a church, deciding where to live, or any other decisions we are trying to make. Our happiness scale drives our decisions and this is a terrible way to make decisions.
I am in the middle of a devotion series by Tim Elmore and in one of the devos he said that when happiness is our goal it is illusive and disappointing. When happiness is our goal we often don’t find it and then get disappointed we didn’t. That is because happiness isn’t meant to be found. Happiness is meant to be a byproduct. According to Google, the definition of byproduct is, “an incidental or secondary product made in the manufacture or synthesis of something else.” True happiness is only achieved as the byproduct of serving God. If we chase after happiness we won’t find it. But if we chase after God we will.
In Mark 12, when Jesus was asked what is the most important thing to do, He responded,
The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
Jesus tells us in life there are two things we should strive to do. We should love God and we should love other people. When we do these two things we will begin to find happiness. Jesus doesn’t tell us that we need to try to be happy. In fact, Galatians 5:22-23 tell us, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit produces joy in our lives. We don’t produce joy. We can try as hard as we want, but we will not be able to produce happiness. That is why when we chase after it we get discouraged and disappointed.
So we need to stop trying to be happy. And it is tough. It is counterintuitive. It is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Yet I always have found that when I love God and others I end up happy. If I truly want to be happy I need to seek after the Spirit and allow it to produce happiness in my life. I need to stop trying to do the impossible and leave that up to God.
until next time…