Posted April 17, 2019
"My aim in life is in finding happiness!" It seems almost everybody these days says this. There is nothing really wrong in wanting happiness, is there? No, indeed; not if you want to obtain it in the right way. On this note there is much to be said. But pause for a moment and consider that the word "happiness" is not found in our King James Bible. Yet it is still the world's "best seller" book. (I wonder how that "grabs" modern joy-seekers!) The word "happy" is found in the King James Bible about twenty-eight times. But the word "obey," in all its forms, appears there about one hundred forty-six times. Why is that? Isn't the Lord telling us something in this comparative word emphasis? He sure is! For one thing, as the "happy" texts show, happiness comes to us only in the way of doing right. For example, it comes: in showing mercy to the poor (Prov. 14:21), trusting in the Lord (Prov. 16:20), keeping His law (Prov. 29:18), in knowing and doing the word of Christ (John 13:17), by enduring patiently (James 5:10, 11), and suffering for righteousness' sake (I Pet. 3:14) or for Christ's sake (I Pet. 4:14). Further, to be happy, would you be willing to sell all that you have and give to the poor? One rich young man could not do that, and, consequently, went away sorrowful and unhappy. Do you imagine that you could be happy in any enterprise in which you would not be trusting in the Lord? Is there happiness in any way of sin or transgression of the law of God? Could you be happy in ignorance, in not knowing anything of God's truth? (Is ignorance bliss?) Could you be happy intellectually knowing the truth, but never having a lick of godly conformity to truth? David has said, "Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk . . . Teach me to do Thy will", (Psalm 143:8, 10). Happiness comes by knowing the way, plus an obedient going in the way. Knowledge without obedience is lame; and obedience without knowledge is blind. Therefore, for lasting happiness, divine knowledge and holy obedience may not be separated. Could you be satisfied with a temporary happiness, one which does not endure? Do you imagine happiness would be obtained if only you could succeed in removing all suffering from your life? If happiness comes in the way of suffering for righteousness' sake and for Christ's sake, then are there, after all, many, or any, happy people in the world?
It is plain that everybody wants to be happy. But do we realize that we can never attain to happiness by trying to be happy? Make happiness your aim and you will always miss it. For happiness is the child (fruit) born of the inseparable union of its parents, knowledge and obedience. Then happiness is not a goal in itself, but the result of pursuing the right goal. So that that pursuit is not the pursuit of happiness as such, but the pursuit of that which results in happiness. Nor is it according to scripture that all men are endowed by God with an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. Like sleep, keep pursuing it and it keeps eluding you.