We live in a world that looks for happiness. Even the Founding Fathers of the United States include the pursuit of happiness as one of mankind’s inalienable rights. (Note that to pursue happiness is a right, not happiness.) According to these men, this right is from our Creator. Maybe that is why I hear many people defending their lifestyle and worship style choices by saying “God wants me to be happy.” Does He? Does God want me to be happy?
I did a quick search of the English Standard Version via E-Sword for the phrase “be happy.” The search yielded only one reference, “When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.” (Deuteronomy 24:5) There is not much there stating that God wants you and me to be happy, instead this verse tells us about the importance of focusing on our marriages.
Just for the sake of comparison, I searched the phrase “be holy.” The search yielded 156 verses with a combination of those words and 32 matches for the exact phrase. Consider this selection as an example of the results, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16).
Maybe, A pparently, Obviously God wants us to be holy.
With all that said, let me share with you a small piece of wisdom about holiness: When I am pursuing holiness, I find much happiness. Holiness is key to happiness. If you want to be happy then:
- Trust God, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psa 23:4
- Be content with God’s blessings, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1Ti 6:6-8.
- Live in the moment with God, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Mat 6:34.
- Set a goal of holiness, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Col 3:1-2.
Be Holy to be Happy, walk in the steps of the Lord. “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” Jer 10:23.