How often have you heard the mantra, "I just want to be happy"? With great interest I recently read an article in the Sky Delta magazine titled "Who Says You Can't Buy Happiness?" As this article reviewed the apps and other online programs to "improve well being," the author also reported the dire statistics concerning unhappiness in America. 52% of people are completely dissatisfied with their jobs, women are particularly unhappy, dissatisfaction costs US companies up to $500 billion a year, and only 33% of Americans describe themselves as happy. Wow!! What is going on? My theory revolves around my observations that the more self focused a person is (such as pursuing their own happiness), the more miserable they are. I have never seen an exception to this.
The hidden desire in seeking "happiness" really can be found only in a richer and deeper quality of life that we would call "joy." Joy endures through the most heartbreaking of times. In fact my best picture of it would be Jesus as He approached the suffering of the cross. Hebrews 12:2 "... looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Jesus' joy totally came from His concern for the souls of men and not for Himself. Another couple of verses to consider would be James 1:2-3; "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." Somehow this doesn't sound like the current pursuit of happiness, but rather the development of character for the glory of God.
No lasting happiness takes place until life stops revolving around me and begins revolving around God and other people.