When people end relationships, they sometimes use phrases like, “I just can’t make you happy”, “I’m not happy anymore”, or “I just want you to be happy.” When you ask a parent what they want for their child’s life, a common response is, “I just want them to be happy.”
Early in our marriage, a struggle we faced was trying to make each other happy instead of doing what was best for each other and for our marriage. That’s a problem because happiness is fleeting. That temporary good feeling is dependent on our circumstances and when our circumstances change, happiness quickly becomes elusive. It has become evident in our culture that we have believed the lie that happiness is the ultimate goal of our lives. If you are a follower of Jesus, this is even more problematic because the Bible is clear that our lives will not always be happy, yet God is still present.
Often times what we need is something that may make us temporarily unhappy: A salad instead of french fries, getting up early to exercise instead of sleeping in, disciplining a child during a temper tantrum, training them in righteousness instead of giving in to quiet them, or a hard conversation with someone who loves us and wants us to look more like Jesus.
When we choose to seek joy instead of happiness, we are choosing to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. We are choosing the eternal over the temporal. We are choosing a mindset of faith in who God is and what Jesus has done for us instead of relying on what is going on around us to sustain us. Paul and Silas displayed the glory of God to those around them in today’s verse when they did not allow their temporary circumstances to sway them from the hope they had in the Lord.
Where are you choosing temporary happiness over joy and hope in Jesus and what He has done for you? Pray today that God would allow you to see your life as He does and that He would help you chose joy over happiness.