Protection from catastrophe is the foundation of having a happy life. According to Funk and Wagnall’s Standard College Dictionary, happiness is “The state of quality of being pleased or content. Good fortune, prosperity, good luck.” (1963) When we study the Word of God, we find that a number of areas of our life contribute to our happiness.
1. Protection from catastrophe
De 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
Ps 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3. Trust and hope in God for the future
Ps 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
4. Possessing and using wisdom
Pr 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Pr 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
5. Living by God’s principles
Jo 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
A common belief in this society is that if a person is successful, they will be happy. This is not necessarily the case. The world’s system fails in that it can never insure that anyone will be completely secure or that all their needs will be met in the future. Most people experience some moments of happiness in their lives, but are unable to maintain this state for significant periods of time. This is because they are basing their happiness on the current circumstances of their lives and circumstances. When they perceive that things are not going as they wish, their state of happiness vanishes. Because life will have its tribulations (John 16:33), happiness, to most people, is an elusive goal that easily slips out of their grasp. However, for those Christians who are willing to take God at His Word in faith, not only security, but also a life of continual happiness is possible. Both security and happiness are essential parts of the abundant life that God has provided for us. In order to achieve true happiness, we must do our part to:
1. Trust in God for our protection, avoid pride, tempting God, presumption, and direct disobedience. These are the requirements for remaining under His protection. See the Topic of Insecurity for an in-depth discussion and the chart on protection from catastrophe.
Ps 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
2. Submit to God’s plan for our life. His ways are better. God has a specific plan for our lives. He created us for this plan and gave us the talents to accomplish it as we trust and rely on Him. In order to be happy, we must fit within His perfect will for us.
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
3. Trust in His shield of faith. We must believe that we have absolute protection from evil as long as we rely on the shield of faith or the presence of God. He always has our best interests in mind from His standpoint of eternity. He knows the future outcome of everything. Only those things that are for our eternal good can pass through that shield of protection. In The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah Whithall Smith (1983) explains a vision of this protection that helped her understand this all-important biblical truth.
She thought she was in a perfectly dark place. A body of light came toward her from a distance, which gradually surrounded and enveloped her and everything around her. As it approached, a voice seemed to say, “This is the presence of God. This is the presence of God.” While surrounded with this presence, all the great and awful things in life seemed to pass before her—fighting armies, wicked men, raging beasts, storms and pestilences, sin and suffering of every kind. At first she shrank back in terror. But she soon saw that the presence of God so surrounded and enveloped her and each one of these things, that not a lion could reach out a paw, nor a bullet fly through the air, except the presence of God moved out of the way to permit it. And she saw that if so thin a film of this glorious Presence of God were between her and the most terrible violence not a hair of her head could be ruffled, nor anything touch her, except the presence divided to let the evil through. Then all the smaller and annoying things of life passed before her. She also saw that she was so enveloped in this presence of God that not a cross look, nor a harsh word, not petty trial of any kind could affect her unless God’s encircling presence moved out of the way to let it. (p. 134-135)
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
4. Believe that God has met and will always meet all our needs, including our needs for worth, significance, security and love. If we do not accept that our worth is based on God’s love, our significance is based on our adoption as children of God, our security is complete in Christ, and we will never be separated from God’s love, we cannot maintain a happy life because part of the concept of happiness requires that we know our needs have and will always be met. Without faith that our needs will be met, we will strive to meet those needs and again become entangled within the circumstances of our success or failures.
Php 4: 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
5. Know that God will work everything, including our mistakes, for our good. If we meet the criteria of this critical verse by loving God and submitting to God’s plans for us, we can believe that everything, even our mistakes and failures, will be used by God for our good. If we do not believe this, our happiness will be constantly interrupted by events or the offenses of others that we interpret as negative. God is so great that even though He will not override the will of people, He is still able to control the events of our lives to turn them around for our long-term good.
Ro 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
6. Open our spiritual eyes to see the chariots of God. If it is true that absolutely everything that happens to us will be used by God for our eternal good, then we must see all the events of our lives as good. In the book A Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life (1983), the events of our lives are described as the chariots of God. But just like in the days of Elisha, we need our eyes to be opened so that we can see them as such. If we see them as enemies, they will run over us, but if we see them as friends, we can ride in them to victory over our circumstances.
"They do not look like chariots. Instead they look like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments, unkindnesses. They look like misery and wretchedness waiting to roll over us and crush us into the earth. But if we could see them as they really are, we would recognize them as chariots of triumph in which we may ride to those heights of victory for which our souls have been longing and praying. The difficulty is the visible thing. The chariot of God is the invisible. …Lord, open our eyes that we may see. …And when our eyes are opened, we will see in all of the events of life, whether great or small; whether joyful or sad, a “chariot” for our souls. Everything that comes to us becomes a chariot the moment we treat it as such. And on the other hand, even the smallest trials may crush us into misery or despair if we let them. It does not matter what the events are, but how we take them. We can either lie down under them and let them roll over us and crush us, or we can view them as chariots of God and make them carry us triumphantly onward and upward." (1983, p. 216-217)
2 Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
7. Abide in the vine. We are always tempted to try to do the things of God in our own flesh. As we have seen in the previous chapters, this only increases our reliance on the flesh. We must learn to trust harder, instead of working harder. This is made very clear in the book of John.
Jo 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
8. Submit to the care of the good Shepherd knowing that, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” The 23rd Psalm is a perfect description of what God’s abundant life is to be like. With an all-powerful Shepherd such as Christ, how could we not be happy sheep?
Ps 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
9. Mount up on wings of eagles to see life from God’s perspective. Finally, the key to all of this is to see the events of our lives from the perspective of God. We need to mount up on the wings of eagles to look down on the vapor of our life from God’s eternal perspective and see that everything is good. He has not failed us and He cannot fail us.
Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Steps to Having a Happy life
1. Trust in God for our protection avoiding: pride, tempting God, presumption and direct disobedience.
2. Submit to God’s plan for our life. His ways are better. Jeremiah 29:11
3. Trust in His shield of faith. Only those things that are for our eternal good can pass through. Ephesians 6:16
4. Believe that God has and will always meet all our needs including our need for worth, significance, security, and love. Philipians 4:19
5. Know that God will work everything—even our mistakes—for our good. Romans 8:28
6. Open our spiritual eyes to see the chariots of God. Do not let them run over us but ride in them. 2 Kings 6:17
7. Abide in the vine. Not work harder but trust harder. John 15
8. Submit to the care of the good Shepherd knowing that, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” Psalms 23:6
9. Mount up on wings of eagles to see life from God’s perspective. Isaiah 40:31