I will continue the conversation with you that my lovely wife and I discussed in part at the dinner table this evening, it is in fact a subject that previous letters to you have touched on, and so I believe that the Lord sees it as important enough to revisit. It stems from a line in a very old book whose title escapes me at the moment, “Happiness is just the world’s cheap imitation of the Joy of the Lord.”
Now, I believe whole-heartedly that the Lord wants His children to not only know the joy that can only come from Him, but that He also wants us to be happy, but the happiness that we are speaking of here, that happiness that the world attempts to offer us, that we are buffeted with each and every day, is not now, nor will it even be an eternal one.
The discussion began with my wife’s unending desire for chocolate, one that she falls prey to very rarely, and so, because of that rarity, the happiness that it delivers to her is able to continue. But if she decided that every meal was to include chocolate, then not only would her very small waistline suffer, but the happiness that the chocolate brings would eventually fade away, it would in fact become a great burden instead. For her it is chocolate, for others it would be, and is, something completely different, but the root effect remains the same, it is of this world and so therefore it is fleeting at best and guaranteed not to be an eternal experience.
Happiness is of course an emotion, and emotions are most generally induced by outside influences, what makes some people happy is more than revolting to others, and in some instances to the Lord, to those Romans 1:28 stands true, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” Can we find temporary happiness here? Of course, take for instance the rare piece of chocolate my wife allows herself, is there any sin in this? Of course not, for she has not allowed herself to be put into bondage by this enjoyment, but many cannot say this in truth. Whatever we find happiness in, if it is over indulged in to an extreme, will soon become our master, look around the city you live in, how many drunks and junkies live on the streets, how many homeless folk are there because they would not stop living beyond their means and lost everything. There are always consequences to our actions, and it is generally through the overindulgences of those supposed happiness’ that Satan uses as an advantage.
Men and women who will not control their appetites, no matter what form that appetite takes, rarely find themselves satisfied with the same amount of happiness each time they succumb to the temptation, each time it takes just a little bit more, it lasts just a little less, and we will seek after that happiness with our entire being if left to our accord. The world calls it addiction, the Lord when it reaches this point calls it sin, for the happiness and joy that can only truly be found in Him is now being substituted for an idol, an idol made of the happiness of the world. People seek for this type of happiness each and every day of their life, a happiness that will finally fill the bucket list that is seemingly always running out, and they will die unfulfilled, save for sporadic moments remembered. “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:4)
There is only one way to eternal happiness, you know that, but can you retain it when everything else is dark in your life, can you hold onto it when the Lord is allowing pain and suffering to fill your days, is it still within you when you have not even laughed or giggled for six months or more. If it is, then you know Christ as your personal Savior, you have been blessed with the peace that passes all understanding, you can sit right beside Job and say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” (Job 13:15) The world will keep trying to fool you into believing that the next new thing will finally bring you happiness, that one or two more pieces of chocolate a day will really do the trick, and the father of lies has done an incredible job with this lie, with these temporary happy moments. Keep your eyes upon Christ, and not only will your joy be full, but happiness, a deep abiding happiness, will never leave you.