Desperately Seeking Happiness

Here's an excerpt from a recent article in the Denver Post: 20070709_115814_happy_2001.jpgWe're a nation with a happiness fetish.  A new book on happiness seems to roll off the presses every day ... Millions of Americans seek happiness in the usual things: shopping, sex, food, drugs, alcohol, marriage, divorce, extreme sports, meditation and movies like 'The Pursuit of Happyness.'

According to this article, happiness is an inside job and we are to experiment with what works for us.  It lists these five essential happiness habits, adapted from "How to Do Just About Anything" on ehow.com.

Figure out what is important to you. Do you value a certain kind of job, material things, a relationship, time alone, time with others, time to relax, time to be creative, time to read, time to listen to music or time to have fun?

To be happy, you have to make happiness a priority. Decide to make more time in your life to do more of what is important to you and makes you feel happier.

Start with little things and work up. Little things might be reading for 15 minutes, taking a walk, calling a friend or ca4e2yf2.jpgbuying a great-smelling soap, shampoo, candle or tea that you will enjoy every time you use it.

Focus on what is positive. In a journal, write down as many positive things as you can think of about yourself, others and life in general. Keep it handy, read it and continue adding to it.

Appreciate what is working in your life. In the major areas of your life - your health, job, love life, friends, family, money and living situation - what is going well?

It was Blaise Pascal who said that "all men seek happiness."  But I believe God purposefully made us to pursue happiness--happiness not found in what this world has to offer, but what God has to offer.

In fact, John Piper says,

Nowhere in the Bible does God condemn people for longing to be happy. People are condemned for forsaking God and seeking their happiness elsewhere (Jeremiah 2:13). This is the essence of sin. The Bible actually commands us to delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Jesus teaches us to love God more than money because our heart is where our treasure is (Matt. 6:21). Paul wants us to believe that gaining Christ is worth the loss of everything else (Phil 3:8) and the author of Hebrews exhorts us to endure suffering, like Jesus, for the joy set before us (Heb. 12: 1-2). Examine the Scriptures and you'll see this over and over again.

So where do we find true happiness?  It's found in pursuing the pleasures of God in Christ instead of the pleasures of wealth, power or lust. Psalm 16:11 says, "You show me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy, in Your right hand are pleasures for evermore."