Solomon once wrote, “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live” (Eccl. 3:12). There are two different kinds of happiness that need to be examined. One is a temporary happiness and the other is an everlasting happiness.
We have always known there were those who love the world (1 Jn. 2:15) and had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:12). We have heard that sin is pleasurable and enjoyable (Heb. 11:25). Faring sumptuously and receiving good things (Lk. 16:19-31) seems to convey such a happy state that many are minded to be rich (2 Tim. 6:9). Worship of the devil is professed by Satan himself to extend to the worshiper great power over kingdoms of the world (Matt. 4:8,9). Preeminence in the church is even today sometimes sought by misguided brethren. It must be an exhilarating and thrilling sensation to have such a high ecclesiastical position in the church by those who would use wicked words and cast brethren out of the church (3 Jn. 9,10).
Then there is the happiness found in serving the Lord God. “Happy are you, 0 Israel: who is like unto you, O people saved by the Lord” (Deut. 33:29). This Old Testament passage speaks of Israel. The statement is just as true today of church members. God’s spiritual Israel, “who is like unto you, 0 people saved by the Lord. Happy is that people, … yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord” (Psa. 144:15).
“Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding . . . and happy is every one that retains her” (Prov. 3:13,18). “He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusts in the Lord, happy is he” (Prov. 16:20). Wisdom has been described as vision to do what is right at the time.
There is happiness found in doing the will of God. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he” (Prov. 29:18). The Apostle John reported the sayings and doings of Jesus and then said, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them” (Jn. 13:17). This happiness comes when we are not only hearers of the word but also doers of the word (Jam. 1:22).
Paul, before the King remarked: “I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before you touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews” (Acts 26:2). Yes, happiness for the Christian comes when, like Paul, he has sanctified Christ as Lord in his heart and is able “to give answer to every man that asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).
Paul was on trial for his life before Agrippa and we too may sometimes face grave consequences because of our strong faith. “But and if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are you : and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (1 Pet. 3:14). “If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you ; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Pct. 4:14). Anytime we are mindful to be discouraged and dismayed because of oppression brought on by our vigorous faith, let us allow our minds to be filled with those exceeding and great promises given by our God, who cannot lie, that if we are faithful unto the end we shall overcome. I venture to say that you know this song so well: “Oh, happy day, that fixed my choice, on thee my Savior and my God.” In this condition, walking in the “footsteps of Jesus,” I’ll truly “sing and be happy today!”
Surely a sinful life is pleasurable. Yet note how Moses decided to choose to live for God over the pleasures of this world: “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb 11:24-26). Yes, it is better to choose to suffer for the cause of Christ and gain eternal life, than it is to serve Satan and gain all the pleasures known to mankind for a short time. Time is much too short to even compare the two choices set before you (Jam 4:14). Comparatively, it is approximately 100 years or less of pleasure and then eternal damnation, vs approximately 100 years or less of suffering affliction and then eternal life with God.
Durability and tenacity of faith are indispensable to the great happiness to be gained by being an altogether committed Christian. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (Jam. 5:11). Pray that you endure as a 100% pure Christian, committed totally to the Lord, that you may be the happiest of all people in the world.