To find happiness we must look in all the wrong places. To find happiness, we must do the exact opposite of what logically makes sense. Yes, what I’ve just said is pretty strange. Logically, what I’ve said can be compared to this statement: To get the square peg to fit into its hole, we must put it into the triangular shaped hole.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. . . . . . . . .For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
The above passage isn’t suggesting that God doesn’t like smart people. On the contrary, God needs smart people, especially since understanding the last passage takes a smart person. What God is saying is that there are many smart people who don’t believe in his ways—such as the way in which he chose to save the world from its sins through his Son, Jesus Christ—that he wishes to confuse.
So what is the logical—yet contradictory to scripture—way to look for happiness? Logically, being able to snap our fingers to appease our every whim would make us happy. Logically, being the most liked, respected, and powerful person in the state would make us happy. Logically, the opportunity to pursue anything that we wish would make us happy.
So, what things would allow us to pursue and obtain all that we’ve ever wanted? Money and people, correct? Who needs brains if we’ve got the cash to buy our way out of trouble? Sure, the pursuit of happiness comes in all flavors, but to make my point easier to say in one sentence, I’ll say this: So, logically, with infinite amounts of money and infinite amounts of people, we would find a happiness that would never go away. Hey, logically, that might be true, but, truthfully, it’s not true!
We all have the drive in us to go out and get what we want. It’s called survival of the fittest. It’s called the pursuit of happiness. It’s called our birth given right, but, guess what, that drive leads to all kinds of sin. Sin, contrary to popular belief, does not make us happy, not in a long run it doesn’t. In fact, most sin leads to all kinds of trouble.
When we live to please ourselves, we take from others in ways that are not necessary; we live a lifestyle that is completely excessive; we allow greed to feed our stomachs. Suddenly, a slice of pie is worth more to us than the people around us, and we make sure to yell at those people about the pie so they know it.
It’s only natural to want to find happiness by chasing after the things in this life that we like. After all, it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If I get what I want then I’ll be happy, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Are screaming kids happy after they have gotten their way, or will they scream again within the next few hours?
Christ tells us that the real way to find happiness is to live for others rather than ourselves. Give to others before we give to ourselves. Forgive the people who have hurt us. Be merciful on the people who just don’t understand. Let’s blame ourselves rather than blame each other. Hey, don’t be mad, be glad. Be generous—give even when we don’t want to. In essence, love each other. Love God, and do it out of faith. Don’t just be nice to those who will be nice in return. Be nice to those who don’t deserve it! Yeah, that hurts, but God says that’s the way to happiness.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:9-11).
And isn’t that fantastic? With Christ, we have to opportunity to find ‘complete joy’.
Has anybody noticed how much nonsense this is? To find happiness, we must forget about ourselves and put others first. What? But if I give him my piece of pie then I won’t be happy. . . Hey, God can give us as much happiness as he wants to give us. If we do the things that he says will make us happy, then we can be sure that we will be happy no matter how many slices of pie we give away. In fact, after a while, we might actually enjoy giving the pie away more than eating it ourselves.
Check this out: “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So it is with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:20-22).
All in all, if we stay with Christ and continue to fight to do what he wants us to do no matter how bad we don’t want to do it, eventually, by the power of God our fight will turn into joy—our pain will give birth to a life that is complete with the sweetest happiness. Sure, it doesn’t make sense, but that’s why God says that he needs us to live our lives by faith. Have faith that Jesus will bless us as we continue to live in a way that he desires.
One more thing, Jesus does desire us to be happy, as well as he desires for us to live full, abundant lives. Keep giving, keep loving, and keep moving toward a joy that can’t be gotten by any other pursuit. Trust Jesus when he says that the happiness he gives us will be a complete joy—a joy that isn’t here one day and gone the next; a joy that will not come with the night and leave in the morning; a joy that not only is pleasing to us but is also pleasing to the people around us. With the joy Jesus puts in us, we are not the only people who benefit from it. That’s the miracle of living a life for Christ. It’s as sweet for those around us in the same way that it is sweet for us.