Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NLT)
Let’s face it, we do want to be happy. Happiness beats unhappiness any day of the week. But there is a problem with happiness. If we pursue it above all else, we fail to find it and end up being unhappy.
One writer has described happiness as beautiful flowers growing on a cliff face. If I single mindedly try to grasp that flower, I risk falling off the cliff. I might pluck that one flower but it fails to give me the happiness I seek so I take even more dangerous efforts to pluck other flowers that promise happiness.
Happiness is an emotional response to favourable circumstances. Because circumstances cannot always be favourable, we can’t always be happy. So, happiness is an unreal goal. Better to aim at joy, which is glad confidence in the goodness of God. God doesn’t change so we can rely on his faithfulness at all times and so have joy at all times, even in sad times. I can experience joy even when in trouble: Jesus actually promised both joy and trouble to his followers.
Jesus also tells us to pursue him above all. Happiness is never to become a life goal, though it remains a legitimate desire. We best find happiness when we are not looking for it.