The Road to Happiness
By Virginia Brandt Berg
Jesus told His disciples, “If you know these things”—the keys to right living that He had taught them—“happy are you if you do them” (John 13:17 KJV). That simple point has a world of truth in it!
Some time ago I was reading an article in a magazine. This is an excerpt from it:
Everyone is after the same thing in life, and that is happiness. Just to have a good time seems to be the purpose of life to some people. Unfortunately, most of them blunder until their short lives are nearly over before they find out what a good time really is.
At first, when children, we think that a good time means lots of fun and not much work, to do as you like and get something for nothing. But many folks discover after a while that that is a very silly notion and leads to mischief, spankings, and stomachaches.
Eventually, after having plenty of troubles, folks learn that success and happiness do not come from grabbing everything we want—that happiness does not mean idleness and chocolate creams! But it takes some folks a long time to learn to go about it in the right way and to find true happiness.
Of course, Christians who are serious about their Christianity don’t make a selfish quest for personal happiness, but they find it just the same. I hope I can convince you of this. Happiness is to many a holy grail. They think that if they miss finding happiness, they will have missed the supreme purpose in life. But that isn’t the supreme purpose in life! There is a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox called “I’ve Lost the Road to Happiness,” which goes like this:
I’ve lost the road to happiness,
Does anyone know it, pray?
I was dwelling there
When the morn was fair,
But somehow I wandered away.
I saw rare treasure
And scenes of pleasure
And ran to pursue them when lo,
I had lost the road to happiness
And knew not whither to go.
Now I take the liberty to paraphrase the next verse:
Have you lost the road to happiness?
Oh, I can lead you back.
Take the road marked “obedience,”
To the right, up God’s own track!
So where can you find real happiness? It’s found in obeying God! Strange to say, the mother of happiness is just plain old-fashioned obedience.
Joy is always the aftermath of obedience! God’s Word says that if you know these things—Jesus’ teachings—happy are you if you do them. It’s true! A personal will yielded to God brings rest of spirit, a heart right with God brings joy, and a mind stayed on God brings peace.
Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness if we had perfect confidence in the One we are obeying. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? And so true! It’s reasonable too, for if the heart is right with God and you’re walking in obedience to His Word, then He can fulfill in you all of His wonderful promises. Who could help but find happiness then?
Many people think they are unhappy because of conditions and circumstances around them, but that isn’t it—something is wrong in the heart. When the heart is right, all is right, but when the heart is wrong, all is wrong. They are at war with themselves because they are out of harmony with God.
Jesus did not teach that the quest for happiness should be abandoned, but that you must go about it the right way. Jesus believed in and taught happiness, but He made it very plain that there are right and wrong ways of pursuing it.
Jesus understood our human longing for happiness, and that our pursuing it the wrong way was one of the world’s greatest problems. He also knew the source of true happiness and had the power to give it to us. He said, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
The Bible promises that one of the fruits of the Spirit will be joy (Galatians 5:22-23), and Jesus Himself told His disciples, “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22). There are so many Scriptures along this line to prove that joy comes to a real Christian that I don’t have space to mention them all here.
But this kind of joy is entirely different from the merriment the world calls happiness. This confident message of happiness runs triumphantly throughout the Word of God, so don’t think that when you become a Christian it’s some long-faced affair, all fenced in and hard and dark!
Christ set forth the fundamentals of happiness, and told us that we should have joy, to “ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” People are on the wrong path if they strive for happiness as a goal in itself, because that is to chase a shadow. There’s no substance in that at all!
True happiness is not something from the outside that you can pour into the heart, but rather it springs up from within the heart. True happiness is God-given and is a result of yielding to the will of God—what God knows is best—and putting your life at God’s disposal.
Is this a new thought to you? Does it seem unreal that you can find happiness by making Jesus Christ the master of your life? Thousands and thousands of people today will tell you they found true happiness and fulfillment in obedience to the Lord. He can do it for you! He wants to do it for you!
Are you dissatisfied, distraught, frustrated? Why not give God a chance at your heart? Before you again start up some wrong trail to find just another dead end of dissatisfaction or frustration, why not turn to God?
Read God’s Word, and there you will find the plan of happiness that God has for you. You’ll find God’s way! Remember that Jesus, when He was here on earth, constantly taught that there was no happiness or no blessing equal to the blessing of finding and following God’s plan and loving ways. Is it strange that God can fully satisfy your soul? Oh, He can!
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