In this lesson we are going to look at the subject of being happy and having real happiness. Many people in the world today are looking for happiness and are willing to try many different things to gain it. But as we will see in this lesson real happiness that last will only come from God and having the right relationship with him.
In Acts 26 we see Paul standing before king Agrippa and witnessing to him about the things that have happened unto him and why he is being accused by the Jews. Note the phrase he used in verse 2, “I think myself happy”. Happiness can be a choice as we see here and it has to do with how we think about things.
Paul had not had an easy life since he started his ministry for the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-30 we see some of the hardships that Paul had faced such as being shipwrecked, being stoned, being beaten with rods, receiving 39 stripes five different times and many other hardships. And to top it all off he is a prisoner when he stands before Agrippa in Acts 26 and yet he still can say that he thinks himself happy. Paul’s happiness must have come from somewhere other than just himself, it came from God. Therefore we can see from this happiness can be found no matter what the hardship you are enduring, or no matter what the circumstances you are under. Real happiness comes from God and we must look to him for it.
Why did Paul think himself happy?
In verses 2-3 we see two reasons that Paul gave for why he thought himself happy. The first one is because he would get to answer for himself why he was accused of the Jews. This is interesting because if you read verses 4-23 you will see that Paul uses the opportunity to tell King Agrippa and those with him all about the Lord Jesus Christ. We see then that Paul was happiest when he was getting the opportunity to tell someone about the Lord Jesus Christ.
The second reason that Paul gave for thinking himself to be happy was because he knew that King Agrippa would listen and hear what he had to say seeing he knew all about the Jews and their customs. When you look at verses 26-28 you see that Agrippa did hear Paul and he was almost persuaded to be a Christian. Here we see that Paul was happiest when he was doing the will of God for his life. This is the secret to happiness for any saved person, happiness is found in obeying the word of God and his will for our life.
What Makes a Person Happy?
If you ask this question to different people you will probably get many different answers. Lost people have all sorts of ideas for what will makes man happy but the truth is that usually those things change as the person gets older or the happiness tends to fade away after they have achieved whatever their desire or goal was. Before we look at what the word of God says will make a person happy let us look at the definition of the word Happy. In the 1828 edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language written by Noah Webster we see several different definitions for the word happy we will look at two of them specifically.
1) Prosperous; having secure possessions of good.
- This definition we will refer to as the worldly opinion of happiness. Note it is based on being prosperous and having possessions. The problem with this definition is found in the word secure. Nothing on earth is totally secure. Therefore we see why happiness based on worldly things never last.
2) Blessed; enjoying the presence of God, in a future life.
- This definition we will refer to as spiritual happiness. Note that it is connected with the presence of God and also based on the promise of living with him forever. Our happiness as saved people can be found in the promise of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ no matter what our circumstances are at the moment.
What does the Bible say makes a person happy?
1) Psalm 128:1-2 (Having the Fear of the Lord)
- Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are all connected with the fear of the Lord, and here we see happiness will be connected with the fear of the Lord.
- If a person is going to be saved they will have to see themselves as a sinner and when they see themselves as a sinner they will fear God and his judgment on sin.
- Even after salvation we still should have the fear of the Lord and this can help us in following his word and doing his will, which we have already seen bring us happiness.
2) Psalms 144:15 (Happy are the people whose God is the Lord)
- As we have just seen in our definitions for the word happy, real lasting happiness only comes from God. Therefore a lost person will always have trouble finding happiness outside of Jesus Christ.
3) Job 5:17 (Happy is the man whom God corrects)
- Once we are saved are saved we are children of God and as God’s children we can expect to be corrected when we have done wrong. Now the punishment for doing wrong may not be fun to endure but at least when we are being punished we know that God cares for us.
- Many times children act out because they are trying to get attention, they will not admit to wanting punishment but if no one punishes them then they do not feel that anyone cares for them.
- Therefore when we are being punished by the Lord we at least know that he cares for us and therefore we can be happy.
4) John 13:15-17 (Happy is the man that does what God says)
- In this passage we see Jesus giving the disciples an example and telling them that they will be happy if they do the words of God.
- After Salvation we will have to do the word of God to remain happy. As we grow in the Lord and learn more about his word then the more we will be required to do.
5) 1Peter 3:14 (Happy are ye if ye suffer for righteousness sake)
- This is a hard one to understand sometimes. But as you grow as a saved person and do what is right according to the word of God you are going to be persecuted for this. Now we can be happy in knowing the if we do what right we will be persecuted by the world but if we do what is wrong we will be punished by God and it is far better to be persecuted by the world than to be punished by God.
In the above things we have seen a progression from having the fear of the Lord to being saved. Then being corrected as a child of God to doing what we are supposed to do. And last of all we saw that we can be happy for suffering for righteousness sake. This is why we have stated all along that true lasting happiness will only come from God.
Based on what we have seen in the word of God in this lesson, are you happy, and if not why?
Being Happy : Handout
1) What are some of the hardships that Paul has endured prior to standing before Agrippa in Acts 26? Give a reference for your answer.
2) Why is it so significant that Paul says that he thinks himself happy in Acts 26:2?
3) What are the reasons that Paul gives for thinking himself happy according to Acts 26:2-3?
4) What is a good definition for the word happy?
5) Make a chain reference form the word of God for what makes a man happy.
6) Based on this would you say that you are happy?