By Irvin Himmel
As if it were not bad enough that they deprive themselves of joy, some people make life miserable for others around them. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
(1) Trust in God. The individual who puts his faith in God has a source of strength and delight that unbelievers do not understand. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). “And whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (Prov. 16:20). People who worry and stew may call themselves Christians, but their attitude mirrors lack of trust in the Lord.
(2) Relish the Scriptures. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psa. 1:1,2). “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psa. 119:103). The sacred Scriptures give hope, comfort, and gladness to lovers of truth.
(3) Live Righteously. “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (Psa. 32:10,11). “The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him” (Psa. 64:10). The New Testament teaches us to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Tit. 2:12). Clean living contributes to deep rooted joy and contentment.
(4) Worship God Regularly. Worship itself should be a delight, and through worship to God our hearts are lifted. David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psa. 122:1). “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” (Psa. 95:1). “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. . . . Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad” (Psa. 96:9-11). Worship is for the glory of God and the happiness of man.
(5) Keep a Clean Conscience. When before Felix, Ananias the high priest, and the Jewish elders, Paul remarked, “And herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). Timothy was instructed to hold on to faith and a “a good conscience” (1 Tim. 1:19). Paul served God with “pure conscience” (2 Tim. 1:3). There can be no true happiness when one violates his conscience. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Later when they appeared before the governor of Egypt (not knowing that he was Joseph), they admitted to each other, “We are very guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear” (Gen. 42:21). The guilt of conscience made them miserable.
(6) Learn Contentment. Some people constantly fret and complain. They gripe about their wages, their job, the government, the weather, and whatever else comes to mind. Some professed Christians grumble about their elders, the preaching, the song leading, and the Bible classes. Their attitude bears little resemblance to the disposition that the New Testament teaches. Paul wrote, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). A contented person is a happy.individual. Without contentment joy is only superficial.
(7) Stay Busy in Constructive Work. Idleness breeds displeasure, restlessness, despondency, and much mischief. Happiness comes to him who works persistently, consistently, and diligently. The happy Christian is not slothful in business, but “fervent in spirit” as he serves the Lord (Rom. 12:11). Effort and accomplishment bring the inward pleasure of fulfillment. Concentration on beneficial work keeps the mind away from thoughts that are detrimental. This is one of several reasons for our “abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
The accumulation of wealth is no guarantee of happiness. Sinful pleasure brings only temporary joy followed by deep remorse and regret. The road to fame is not the path to lasting joy. The seven points outlined above will bring happiness to the heart and serenity to the soul, no matter how painful the outward circumstances.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 7, p. 203
April 7, 1988