By Jun P. Espina | Last updated on February 15th, 2020 at 09:40 am
Of Happiness and How It Works
Joy or positive emotion we habitually experienced with our inner being defines happiness. Such emotion, therefore, of delight and bliss starts from within us rather than by the stimulus that has caused the sense of satisfaction. You have a joyful experience seeing your grandchild, for example, an emotion that your wife does not share since she disliked her daughter-in-law very much. Caused outwardly on the surface by a particular stimulant, your happiness or unhappiness remains a subjective and personal option. Succinctly, it is you who choose to be happy!
Is a person, for another illustration, genuinely happy receiving monetary benefits out of the insurance coverage policy for a dead wife or child? Certainly not! True happiness is all about yourself, your inner emotion or response and not any stimulus outside of your person. You cannot buy happiness, they say, as you don’t purchase what you already owned. The character of your heart and mind, therefore, plays a huge role in maintaining the life of peace and happiness.
Solve that Empty-something
Some people can’t be truly happy with themselves amidst their abundance. A good wife or job or the company of beautiful children couldn’t make them happy at all. Again, because happiness is subjective—it starts from within you. Solve that empty-something in your heart first, before you can have true peace with yourself. That feeling of emptiness is the real cause of unhappiness.
Peace within us only thrives by conquering in principle that dark something that occupies the place of sunshine in our soul! But what is that empty spot, that dark side of our innermost being that’s somehow invading and permeating our peaceful serenity? Well, it is that feeling of vulnerability, rejection, hopelessness, insecurity, irrational ambition, selfishness, all types of lust, a guilty conscience, and sinfulness—a sense of being unclean, wicked and godless inside us! Yes, it is never a happy feeling amidst good looks, riches, and fame, if the thought of becoming sick or old or the possibility of a sudden death comes flashing and swinging like a light of persistent ugly truth occupying and parading in our reveries.
We have a problem, an empty something, a vacuum inside of us that hungers for truth and reason. Adam of old experienced it outside paradise; out of the sphere of meaning! Confused, he became a stranger of the earth that was inhabited by demons away from the loving friendship with the angels and his Maker. We are Adam’s descendants — genetically inheritors of his sin-tainted soul, separated from God — here in this devil-impacted domain.
What should be done to experience a real steady flow of joy and hope in our soul?
The Holy Bible
True happiness in this life is impossible without the involvement of God. “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) We wish to live peacefully, but peace is just elusive like something unsuitable for survival in the fields of our soul. Inject cancer cells into a self-proclaimed peaceful monk if you want to see his facade of tranquility torn down by the fear of the grave. We are a bundle of swelling fears as we can’t successfully hide the terrors of disease, aging, and other death symptoms in the inner self. We need God to direct our path away from the highway of mortality. We need God to pamper our heart and soul with the assurance and hope of happiness on earth and eternal life in the hereafter. We need God to supply our desires for peace and safety and eternal bliss. It is the secret to happiness: God giving us the assurance of joy forever — providing “the delights of our heart.” (cf. Psalm 37:4)
A day before Christ’s crucifixion, our Lord taught His disciples to be happy and not be troubled. (See: John 14:6; 27)
I experienced meeting with around five friends regularly for around three years in my high school days. The same scenario in college and the workplace: we always have friends as it is our nature. I thought at first that maybe I was just more sensitive that I couldn’t experience inner joy talking with friends who were just like me in ideas and fears. I desired someone better than me so I could learn. But the learned ones are busy with “giving value to the marketplace,” to quote Jim Rohn. I didn’t know where to go to experience real happiness.
At age 25, I started studying the Holy Bible. Through God’s blessed word I learned that I could never be satisfied with anything in this life. Wrote King Solomon, the wisest man according to the Old Testament: “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing.” (Eccl. 1:8) Real happiness, so I thought, is impossible in this domain!
I went further in my study until I met our Lord Jesus Christ by faith. I didn’t just learn about Him, but I accepted Him (His Spirit) in my heart and soul for who He is: He died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead on the third day. His promise to my life, thus, was confirmed by His resurrection. (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4) He is alive! I entrusted my soul to Him. The fear of death (see: Heb. 2:15) then left me, and the belief that I have the assurance of eternal life in heaven (my sins forgiven forever), through my faith in Him as my Lord, Savior, and God, started to occupy and prevail in my heart. (cf. John 10:27-30)
How Could Real Happiness Live in the Heart by a Living Relationship with Jesus Christ?
Peace is life’s truest joy. Our risen Lord promised to give His follower His own peace. Observe John 14:27:
Christ’s peace is different from the one we experienced naturally.
Do you want to be truly happy? Then, receive Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior, since happiness in Christ is better experienced than explained. The taste of the pudding, they say, is in the eating. You can’t be happy biblically by memorizing verses or doing all the duties of religion. For only an active relationship with the risen Jesus Christ can real happiness be known. And only faith in Christ can such be accomplished.
The famous hymn titled, “In the Garden,” written by C. Austin Miles (1868–1946), expresses the positive experience of a living relationship with the risen Lord Jesus. I wrote above that happiness in Christ is better experienced than explained. The following lyrics of “In the Garden” (sometimes titled as “I Come to the Garden Alone”) is, in my opinion, one of the best descriptions of the happy relationship with Christ that all real born-again Christians experienced since the dawn of Christianity. Allow me to reiterate: Happiness in Christ is better experienced than explained.
In the Garden
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.