Humans have always wanted to be happy. It’s the reason and purpose that people live. Why do we work and make money? Because according to our natural instincts, spending money and buying the things we desire is supposed to make us happy. Why do I use the word supposed? Well, we might imagine and hope that certain things can make us happy, but the sobering truth is they usually do not.
How many times have we heard that being prosperous does not make people happy? More than we can count. The old songs “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” are among the thousands of sad confessions of how life has turned out to be disappointing. I’m not trying to be negative, but rather pointing out a critical spiritual principle that every human must learn before they can realize the true meaning of life.
Some men say, “If I could have her, my life would be complete, while women dream, “If I could be with him, it would make me the happiest person in the world.” Others declare, “If I could be honest with my sexuality, or “If I had lots of money, I would be thrilled.” This might burst someone’s balloon, but our personal contentment with who we are should not be based on another mortal being, a material object, or what others think. As for fame, it’s better to have a couple of faithful friends than millions of fans you’ll never meet. It’s common to fantasize about being successful and fulfilled, but these are only temporary fixes that can end up doing more harm than good.
For example, we thought the sexual revolution exploded in the sixties, and to some extent, it did. However, in today’s world, the obsession with sexual identification is off the charts. It seems the transgender movement came out of nowhere, and now we are hearing about it and seeing it everywhere. Even young children, with help from the public education system, are being taught and encouraged to change genders, and thousands are doing it. Why? Because this is supposed to make them happy. Remember, isn’t this what life is all about? Nonetheless, why do we not hear about those who ruined their lives with sex change surgeries, and how many commit suicide? Because that would cast a negative light on this growing movement. If young people were allowed to listen to those who are de-transitioning because they realize they were deceived, it would save many confused individuals from a horrible disaster.
When drug addictions and alcoholism became rampant, many throughout the centuries fell into the webs of deception by hoping that whatever numbs the stress and pain will also help eliminate the demons. It might bring temporary relief, but the problems are still there. In today’s world, this includes prescription medicines to help ease anxiety and fear, but the reality is that when the chemicals and unnatural substances wear off, the agony becomes worse than ever. If we take a closer look at the word happiness, we notice that being happy fluctuates and is based on emotional feelings or “happenings.” If life is going well, we are reasonably happy, but when things go sour, we are no longer happy.
Researchers have actually studied lottery winners and discovered that wealth is not as glorious as you might think. A famous study in the 1970s revealed there is very little difference in happiness between people who had won and people who hadn’t. Why? Because all the things we mentioned that are controlled by our infatuations are completely different from a fruit of the Spirit called joy. Joy is directly connected with God Himself, which allows us to stand strong in the raging storms and embrace the comfort and contentment of His presence even in the darkest night of the soul. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not grieve; the Joy of the Lord is your strength.” Spiritual Joy comprehends that no matter what happens, the bond of love between us and God can never be broken. Discouragements or circumstances cannot steal our joy. Genuine joy is experienced when we trust God and trust who we are in Him. Jesus wants you to be filled with His joy. Ask Him to cleanse you and fill you now.
Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky, where he is an ordained Christian minister, community chaplain, and author. Read more about the Christian life and his new book about miracles, “Receiving Our Healing,” at billyhollandministries.com or email him at [email protected].