Should You Pursue Happiness?
It’s deep in the heart of every human being. It wanders around in your soul, waiting to be satisfied. The way you pursue it will set the trajectory of your life story. It is everyone’s quest but, in this world, no one’s destination.
I’m talking about your desire to be happy.
Whether people know it or not, that desire to be happy is a universal hardwiring to be with God face to face. We were designed to walk side by side with the Creator and find happiness in his presence alone.
The capacity for happiness that God has given us fundamentally explains the endless variety of human disappointments in the here and now. You are probably familiar with how C.S. Lewis phrased it: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
If happiness is our pursuit, then embedded in that quest must be a destination. Perhaps we can find no more real argument for heaven than the angst that we all carry in the face of the temporary and fleeting happiness of the present.
Yes, it’s true; your capacity for happiness is a longing for another world. It’s a craving for what this fallen world will never give you. Between the “already” of our conversion and the “not yet” of eternity, we are granted greater happiness as we are sanctified and know our Lord more deeply, but our hearts will never be at rest.
The happiness capacity of your heart cries out every day to be enveloped by the glory of God, freed from the seductive voices of competing glories. The quest for happiness is a cry for the heaven that God has guaranteed for every one of his blood-purchased children.
One day, as God’s child, you will finally stand in the actual presence of God, never to desire happiness again. There and there alone will the pursuit end, the war be over, and your heart given the happiness you always wanted but never fully had.
We will be happy—no, not with the temporary physical, emotional, relational, or situational happiness that fades like morning fog. We will be happy in a deeply contented happiness of heart, a kind of joyful contentment of soul, unlike anything we have ever known before.
“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. . . . He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:17, 20, ESV)
Your pursuit of happiness today is a longing for heaven, where your hunger will be satisfied. There is no greater grace than to be invited into the presence of such glory. There is no greater grace than to have your fickle heart forgiven and finally satisfied forever and ever.
Jesus has paid for and prepared that place for you. Nothing can separate you from that promise of God’s love (Romans 8:31-39).
I need to return to the words of C.S. Lewis: “Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose.”
Jesus said it this way: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). With these words, he ends our need to search for happiness. He is life, so there is no need to look for it anywhere else.
All the situations, locations, possessions, relationships, achievements, and natural beauties of this world that make you happy are wonderful blessings from the hand of God. Still, they cannot give you the one thing that your heart desperately desires, and that will one day be yours by grace.
1. What made you happy this week? Write down a list of things that brought you joy and specifically count your blessings.
2. How can you enjoy and pursue these blessings from the hand of God without allowing them to control your heart?
3. How long does the happiness from your list typically last?
4. Do you see any dangerous patterns of addiction in your life, where you might be trying to find lasting happiness from things in creation that cannot eternally satisfy?
5. Who do you know who is searching for happiness? How can you use their pursuit as an entry gate to talk to them about eternity and Christ?