“Then He (Jesus) began to speak, and taught them.” Matthew 5:2 (NRS)
At the top of the list of things people desperately seek is happiness. Kirk Franklin, gospel extraordinaire, several years ago shared this need in a song that expresses the frustration people feel in their attempt to find happiness. Exasperated with their situation, they sadly cry out, “I just wanna be happy.”
Happiness is defined as a state of well-being and contentment. Happiness is truly a function of one’s personal perception, circumstance, and desire. For the person who is lonely, happiness may be experiencing true friendship and community. For the individual who feels powerless, happiness may be wealth and influence. Regardless of the need behind the pursuit of happiness, the quest to find it has been and continues to be man’s greatest quest.
During the mid-20th century, the pursuit of happiness was found in the discovery of self. “Self” became the surrogate for happiness—self-gratification, self-satisfaction, self-actualization. With the dawn of the 21st century, man has now “turned his ear” (2 Tim. 4:4) to the sciences to help him find happiness. Positive psychology is the study of how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled. In examining the different paths to happiness, there is one obvious way that is missing. That way is Jesus Christ—He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
In Psalm 18:2, David describes his source of well-being during his deliverance from King Saul and his enemies: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” David looked to God to insure his well-being and in exchange received security, safety, and health.
The Apostle Paul exchanged his earthly power and position for the contentment that only Jesus Christ could provide. He proudly boasted in Phil. 4:11-13 (NRS): “I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul’s secret to contentment was not tied to his circumstances but to his God.
Like these and other biblical witnesses set your sights on that which transcends the promises of happiness that is tethered to this world. Seek the intangibles that provide true well-being and contentment. The only one that can provide what “transcends” is our Transcendent God. He alone knows our needs and how to satisfy them. It is our responsibility to trust God for our happiness.