Lessons on happiness I learned in the school of life — while working as publisher for The Aquila Report.
All Men Seek Happiness
All men seek happiness. Jon Bloom wrote about this. We use words like happiness, joy, contentment, delight, and satisfaction as synonyms — describing the same kinds of experiences. “Happiness is not trivial. Human beings take it very seriously.”
Mr. Bloom asserts that God wants us to “seek the highest happiness there is to experience.” Yet, many people stumble over this idea. One of the reasons is because language evolves.
Thomas Jefferson asserted that all people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” For Jefferson, “happiness” was something more profound than the pursuit of the pleasures of pizza with sausage. He was dreaming of a nation where people would be free to devote their lives to pursuing what they believed would bring them the deepest, widest, most durable pleasures possible here on earth.
God Created Us for Exceeding, Inexpressibly Great Happiness
Sam Storms wrote an article with this bold title: God Created Us for Exceeding, Inexpressibly Great Happiness
Jonathan Edwards was only 21 years old when he articulated one of the most important theological insights he ever had: “God created man, for this very end, that he might communicate happiness to him.” Human beings were created “so that God might communicate or impart happiness to them”.
Thomas Brooks said: “God is the author of all true happiness; he is the donor of all true happiness.”
Neither Materialism or Minimalism Can Make You Happy
Proverbs 3:8 says: “Give me neither poverty, nor riches.”
We live in an age of affluence and relative wealth. Compared to our ancestors from 100 or 200 years ago, most of us enjoy much better lives than they did then. One of the effects of our affluence is that we accumulate many things to satisfy our desires. However, accumulation of things (materialism) brings only temporary happiness.
Wyatt Graham explains why neither accumulation nor minimalism can make you happy. “If we have built our psychological well-being around purchasing stuff, then we lose our happiness when we can no longer get stuff or the stuff loses its joy-making function because it becomes mundane.”
Being Blessed is Better than Being Happy
Sean McDowell explains: The paradox of happiness is that if we seek it, we won’t find it. True happiness comes when we stop focusing our own feelings, and lovingly seek the best for others. This is why Jesus said, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’
Martin Seligman, author of the book Authentic Happiness notes that lasting happiness occurs when people outgrow their obsessive concern with personal feelings and live for something beyond themselves.
Lessons on Happiness – Summary
This is the paradox of happiness. We wouldn’t know what joy is, unless we had experienced sorrow. Pain is designed to protect us. We could never enjoy tasting something delicious, unless we had eaten something bland or bitter. This is one of the most important lessons on happiness.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) It’s interesting that some Bible translations use the word happy (instead of blessed). “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”