I have been reading devotionally, Martin Lloyd Jones book, True Happiness. The book is taken from sermons Lloyd-Jones delivered on Psalms 1 & 107 in 1957 and 1963. He observes that the pursuit of happiness was just as powerful a motivator in the Psalmist’s day as it is in ours. We might look back and say that it is just as powerful forty-five years after he preached these sermons.
People desire happiness and most of our lives are spent in trying to achieve happiness and avoid despair through various means. We surround ourselves with friends who make us happy; we take up hobbies that make us happy; we marry spouses that we believe will make us happy and engage in recreational pursuits that make us happy, yet, most report low levels of happiness. Despair, depression, anger and anxiety run rampant through society, and as a Pastor I have observed that church members seem to be just as afflicted with these maladies as non-believers. Why is this? Could it be that true, lasting happiness isn’t found in any of these pursuits?
In Psalm 1 we have God’s prescription for true happiness. Lloyd Jones notes that Psalm 1 begins with the theory of happiness before it moves to the practice of happiness. The theory is twofold:
1) True happiness is possible,
2) We don’t find happiness because we seek it the wrong way.
We don’t find happiness because we think it is dependent on circumstances. If we have money, time-off, material goods, etc. we are happy, but the moment those things are taken away we are robbed of happiness. Secondly, we don’t find happiness because we make happiness the end in itself. Psalm 1 teaches us that happiness is not the goal, but rather the by-product of the pursuit of righteousness. Those who seek righteousness find happiness. Lloyd Jones reminds us that our happiness is based upon two things, 1) my relationship to God and his righteousness, and 2) what I am, not what’s happening to me.
How many times do we as Christians display true happiness to the world. Ask yourself today, “Am I truly happy?” If you can’t answer that in the affirmative you may need to ask, “Why not?” Meditate on Psalm 1 and let God direct you to the source of true happiness.