Jesus as the Author of Happiness
by Steve Hale
I grieve over so much sadness going on around us. Depression and loneliness seem to abound among so many today. The National Center on Disease in Atlanta, in a report that came out just this year, gives a barometer of the problem. Suicide is up an astonishing 300% over the last 30 years among Americans aged 15-24.
Of Americans aged 20-24, 16 out of every 100,000 will commit suicide. Surely what is on your heart and mine by now is why? We live in a land of plenty and prosperity. Even the very poor among us is rich compared to most others in the world. Why the sadness? Why the despair?
The author of sadness is Satan ( John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8).
He promotes the false theory that you can find happiness by materialism, good looks, and power. He lies to you and tries to convince you that happiness can be found through things. Few have had the riches of Solomon, yet he concluded: ".. all is vanity and striving after wind" ( Ecclesiastes 1:14). Few have been more glamorous than Marilyn Monroe, yet she died by her own hand. Few have had the power of Napoleon, but he died an exiled and lonely man.
The author of happiness is Jesus Christ ( Matthew 5:3-12). Happiness is found in right relationships. First and foremost is our relationship with God! Jesus makes that right relationship possible through the process of reconciliation ( 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Second is our relationship with brethren ( Romans 12:9, 10). As a Christian, I have the love and support of every other brother and sister in the world ( 1 John 4:1912).
Third is our relationship with our friends and acquaintances who are not Christians. Because of my transformed life ( Matthew 5:3-12; Romans 12:1-3), I now have the artillery I need to lead them to Jesus ( Romans 1:16, 17). Fourth is my relationship with myself. Because Jesus loves me, I learn to love myself, and use this self-love as a barometer in how to love othexs ( Mark 12:19-31).
Happiness is not found in a whiskey bottle. It is not found in promiscuity with beautiful women. It is not found in trying to look like Brooke Shields or Robert Redford. It is not found in trying to be the town boss. It is found only through redemption in Jesus so that we can be right with our God! Can we share Jesus with you so you can be happy?
January 17, 1988
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