By William C. Sexton
I feel that every sane person wants to be happy in this life. Most every one, I believe, desires also to contribute to the well-being of humanity. Yet, it is evident that 1114″ 4o not know how to be happy; they have no-t-16findthe formula, or, having found it lack the faith and courage to apply it.
No doubt many persons do not really know what happiness is. If asked to define happiness, they could not give an adequate answer. Is it contentment? Is it having every fleshly desire filled? Is it being without work to do? Is it being without responsibility?
Without leaving any misconceptions about having all the answers, I do want to consider a passage of scripture which I feel is important in this respect. (I Pet. 3:10-12). Peter ways: If a person would see “good days,” he must do certain things, or we might say follow certain rules.
Real happiness is no accident. It does not just come to some and evade others. If one expects to reap a corn crop, he must first prepare the ground, then plant good seed in the proper season, cultivate it and wait till harvest time. And with all this, the wise farmer will recognize that there are many other factors over which he has no control; God makes it all possible. The same is true, I affirm, for the person who desires to reap a harvest of happiness. It does not just happen by chance. Certain things must be done, if one expects to “see good days.”
Man alone, with his wisdom, cannot produce lasting happiness (Jer. 10:23). The Creator has set forth the formula; if man will follow, I am convinced he has the greatest chance possible of obtaining lasting happiness — here and now and it reaching into eternity.
The “good days” of which Peter speaks, means a fruitful and meaningful life. It is what we might call a “successful life,” judged in light of eternity and considering the whole of man. In order to accomplish this goal, seeing good days, one must:
1. Control his tongue and the mind behind it. “Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” It is out of “the abundance of the heart” that “the mouth speaketh” U. 6:45). The person who violates this rule cannot we “good days.” Look around and gee if this does not hold true in real life. Will you be persuaded? Quickly remove from your mind every suggestion of deceit “speak no guile.” If it is not first in the heart, it cannot emerge from the mouth.
2. Be negative toward “evil” — that which is contrary to God’s will, and be positive toward that which is “good.” The Lord knows man in his entirety; and He also understands exactly what man needs to be satisfied; likewise, His directions are to that end. Man is tempted by a great amount of “evil” in the world. Often he endeavors to justify his acts by saying, “everybody is doing it.” So what? That does not make it right, beloved! One must do more than just avoid evil; he must be active in that which is “good,” according to God’s standard. No one can be genuinely happy “doing nothing.” Constructive activities — worshipping, serving, and living for God — are a necessity.
3. He must seek peace! Peace must be pursued; effort and time must be spent in this endeavor. Peace is being in harmony with God, doing His will and trying to move others to comply with the same. One must be a Christian to be at peace with God (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:16; Acts 11:26). Others, therefore, must be brought to a knowledge of His will, and they must be caused to render obedience to it, if they are to be at peace with God. Each person is to live peacefully with all men, if he possibly can (Rom. 12:18).
4. Be made righteous by the gospel (Rom. 1: 17). Only when one is made righteousness by complying with the good news of the covenant of Christ, does he have the right and privilege of talking with God and being sure that he is heard. However, when he carefully complies fully with the terms of pardon, he is forgiven and has the blessing of God. This is the person who has lasting happiness. Yes, he’ll have a heavy heart at times and be required to suffer hardship and endure pain, but in his heart he’ll have a peace of mind that can praise God while being bound with chains (Cf. Acts 16:25).
Beloved would you see good days? Are you familiar with the formula? Do you have the faith to apply it? I would to God that all men had a mind to see good days and were familiar with the formula and would apply it in their lives. However, I only have the power to express my concern and the words of God. You alone have the power to secure to yourself these good days. Won’t you, therefore, act immediately? I pray that you Will.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 19, pp. 11-12
March 16, 1972