Have you ever said to a friend or family member, “I just want you to be happy”, as they were considering marriage, a new job or some other major decision?
Recently I watched a documentary on a highly accomplished NBA basketball player from the 1980s and 90s. The program ended with the camera on him as he said, “I have five NBA Championships and I’m world famous. Is that supposed to make me happy?” Then he bowed his head and began to weep.
Happiness is that inner experience some label as a state of contentment and well-being. How many of us want that for ourselves or wish it for those whom we love? It often seems the inner experience of happiness is tied to something external. Like if we find marriage or love externally, that will provide us happiness internally. If we find success externally, that will provide happiness internally. As a result, we search the world over for something that will provide us that inner happiness.
I firmly believe we were all created to want this happiness for ourselves. This is the common human experience. Rich or poor. No matter our race or religion, we hunger to be happy.
Jesus once made a startling claim to a crowd about Himself, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). These words of Jesus show His understanding of the human heart. He knew people were searching outwardly for what they longed for inwardly. Sometime after these words were spoken, Jesus went on to suffer, die, then rise again. After He arose and ascended back to His home in heaven, He sent His Spirit to live on the earth. His Spirit indwells anyone who turns from their evil ways and trusts in Jesus alone for complete forgiveness for all they have ever done wrong. When this happens, the Spirit brings the life of Jesus into that individual which gives, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Right there, that is what every human truly longs for. It is something deeper and more profound than superficial happiness.
What we are looking for is not found in marriage, success or any other earthly human experience we can control or create for ourselves.
The contentment, joy and meaning in life we seek is found in Jesus and nowhere else. And it is not something He dispenses outside of Himself. He embodies it all. When we come to our senses and realize we have been going after the wrong things and receive the Spirit of Jesus within us, we receive all of who He is.
Are you ready to stop going here and there looking for temporary happiness? Are you ready to surrender all to Christ?
A prayer for you – “Lord God, I pray you will lead those who are searching for contentment and inner well-being to Christ. Open their spiritual eyes to see that Jesus is all they are looking for, that in Him all their desires and longings will be met. Bring them to surrender all, to turn from their ways and trust in You with all their heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”