What Does the Ultimate Happy Life Look Like for a Man?
“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon
If only I could get that video game; buy that car; get that job; marry that girl; afford that house; go on that vacation; retire with that nest egg.
Though the wishes change as we get older, one thing remains the same: Happiness is elusive. We get one thing, but want another.
There must be some key to achieving it and keeping it, because surely God wants us to have happy lives, right?
Sort of. Depends on your definition of the happy life.
Solomon says: Be happy
The first way to understand happiness is to understand what it’s not.
It is not fulfilling every desire we have throughout life. It’s not just achieving comfort, whether physical, financial or family-wise.
But then again, it’s not not achieving those things.
Without God, happiness is like a tide. It comes and goes, leaving a few little treasures, taking others with it.
The book of Ecclesiastes, written by wise King Solomon, has much to say about happiness. Let’s look at two of his conclusions:
1. Solomon says happiness is a good thing:
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live (Ecc. 3:12).
2. Solomon says when we feel happy, we should thank God:
Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God (Ecc. 5:19).
So wealth and possessions are a good thing, then? Yes, but we need to dig a little deeper.
Money and happiness
While money can be a gift from God, it is our attitude about the gift that he is more concerned about. The writer of Hebrews comments on this:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have… (Heb. 13:5).
The world tells us the opposite, doesn’t it? It wants us to live the good life, to satisfy our desires, to look and feel good all the time.
Why would God want us to be happy with what we have? Let’s read on in Hebrews:
…because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Heb. 13:5).
The Lord wants us to rely on him. He wants us to remember he is the source of every good thing we have, and he wants us to have a relationship with him rather than our money.
If you find it hard to be satisfied and joyful where you are, you could pray with the psalmist:
Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you (Psalm 86:4).
There are many things that make us happy and also please God:
- Fulfilling our calling
- Developing spiritual gifts, wisdom and character
- Loving and being loved
- A healthy marriage and family
- Serving others
- Practicing and building our faith
- Enjoying nature
- Exercising the skills God has given us
- Having fun with friends and family
- Teaching the next generation
- Satisfying work
- Being creative
As a father, one of my greatest joys in life is when my children make wise choices. Solomon speaks to this, too:
The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him (Prov. 23:24).
God has given us many things to enjoy in life.
What has he given you? Has he given you salvation, the ultimate gift? If so, that should give you a joy beyond the richest pleasures this world can offer.
By Tom Harper