What gives you lasting happiness?
I was reading in the latest edition of Money magazine of a woman planning to be financially independent in a few years and to retire early. She talked about highlighting every purchase that you make and look at its value in bringing sustained happiness after the initial dopamine hit.
That’s good advice. So many of our purchases are the result of impulsive feel-good decisions on the spur of the moment, but it got me thinking about what I actually do. What am I doing that will give me enduring joy?
No one has a crystal ball to see if their actions will bring abiding joy. We may think our children bring us enduring joy but there are circumstances that can take those very children out of our lives.
Providing for our health may expect to lead to enduring vitality and joy but pandemics, political turmoil, so called “acts of God”, time and chance can all change that in a moment. Even the act of amassing a fortune can bring anything but lasting joy when jealousy, envy, theft, insecurity and suspicion can spell isolation and anxiety. History records too many exceedingly rich people ending lonely and sad.
So what can bring us everlasting joy?
For a start, the Bible has promised happiness for eternity:
“(The ones God rescues) will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isa. 35:10 NIV).
We read that eternal joy is bound up with the presence of God:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psa. 16:11 ESV).
We read, also, that eternal joy awaits the righteous:
“But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!” (Psa. 68:3 ESV).
We find out later in the Bible that the key to that happiness lies in Jesus keeping us from sin and declaring us righteous in His presence. At that time we will be filled with all-surpassing joy:
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24 ESV).
So, in conclusion, when we declare Jesus our Lord and Saviour and repent from doing bad things, Jesus will declare us righteous and usher us into the presence of His Father for evermore. Knowing this, we can rejoice now and know that we will be rejoicing for eternity:
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God“(Rom. 5:2 ESV).