Does Living a Godly Life Bring Happiness?
Spiritual activities balanced with
periods of relaxation
contribute to the happiness of those living a godly life.
Jesus Christ is "the happy God," and He
wants you to enjoy life. I Timothy 1:11. By walking in His
way, you can benefit yourself and experience tranquility
that is deep and lasting, like an ever-flowing river.
Walking in God's way also moves one to perform continuous
acts of righteousness, "like the waves of the sea." This
brings true happiness. Isaiah 48:17,18.
Some may object, "People sometimes suffer for doing what is
right." True, and that is what happened to Jesus' apostles.
Although persecuted, however, they rejoiced and went on
"declaring the good news about the Christ." Acts 5:40-42. We
can learn important lessons from this. One is that our
living a godly life does not guarantee that we will always
be treated well. "In fact," wrote the apostle Paul, "all
those desiring to live with godly devotion in association
with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted." II Timothy 3:12.
The reason for this is that Satan and his world are opposed
to those who live in a godly way. John 15:18-19, 1 Peter
5:8. But genuine happiness is not dependent on external
things. Rather, it comes from a conviction that we are doing
what is right and therefore have God's smile of approval.
Matthew 5:10-12; James 1:2,3; 1 Peter 4:13,14.
There are people who feel that they can earn God's favor
through occasional acts of devotion but can forget about Him
at other times. True worship of God is not like that. It
affects a person's conduct throughout all his waking hours,
from day to day, year after year. That is why it is also
called "The Way." Acts 19:9; Isaiah 30:21. It is a godly way
of living that calls upon us to speak and act in harmony
with God's Word.
When new students of the Bible see that they need to make
some changes in order to please our Lord; they may wonder,
"Is a godly life really worth living?" You can be sure that
it is. Why? Because "God is love," and His ways are
therefore meant to benefit us. I John 4:8. God is also wise
and knows what is best for us. Since God is almighty, He is
able to strengthen us to fulfill our desire to please Him by
breaking a bad habit. Philippians 4:13. Let us consider some
principles involved in godly living and see how applying
them brings happiness.
Honesty Results in Happiness
Jesus Christ is "the God of truth." Psalm 31:5. No doubt,
you desire to follow His example and be known as a truthful
person. Honesty leads to self-respect and a feeling of
well-being. Because dishonesty is so common in this sinful
world, however, Christians need this reminder: "Speak truth
each one of you with his neighbor.... Let the stealer steal
no more, but rather let him do hard work ... that he may
have something to distribute to someone in need." Ephesians
4:25,28. Christian employees do an honest day's work. Unless
their employer gives permission, they do not take things
that belong to him. Whether at work, in school, or at home,
a worshiper of God must be "honest in all things." Hebrews
13:18. Anyone who makes it a practice to lie or steal cannot
have God's favor. Deuteronomy 5:19; Revelation 21:8.
Being honest results in many blessings. Selina is a needy
African widow who loves God and His righteous principles.
One day, she found a bag containing a bankbook and a large
sum of money. Using a telephone directory, she was able to
find the owner - a storekeeper who had been robbed. The man
could not believe his eyes when Selina, though quite sick,
visited him and returned the full contents of the bag. "Such
honesty must be rewarded," he said and handed her a sum of
money. More important, this man praised Selina's religion.
Yes, honest deeds adorn Bible teaching, glorify God, and
bring happiness to His honest worshipers. Titus 2:10; 1
Generosity Brings Happiness
There is happiness in being generous, whereas greedy persons
will not "inherit God's kingdom." I Corinthians 6:10. A
common form of greed is gambling; which is an attempt to
make money through the losses of others. God does not
approve of those who are "greedy of dishonest gain." I
Timothy 3:8. Even where gambling is legal and a person
gambles for fun, one has to be careful, he could become
addicted and be promoting a practice that has ruined many
lives. Gambling often brings hardship to the gambler's
family, who may be left with little money to buy such
necessities as food and clothing. I Timothy 6:10.
Because of their loving generosity, Christians find joy in
assisting others, especially needy fellow believers. James.
2:15,16. Before Jesus came to earth, He observed God's
generosity toward mankind. Acts 14:16-17. Jesus Himself gave
His time, His talents, and even His life in behalf of
humankind. Hence, He was well qualified to say: "There is
more happiness in giving than there is in receiving." Acts
20:35. Jesus also spoke well of the poor widow who
generously put two small coins in the temple treasure chest,
for she gave "her whole living." Mark 12:41-44. The ancient
Israelites and the first-century Christians provide examples
of joyful generosity in giving material support to the
congregation and the Kingdom work. I Chronicles 29:9; II
Corinthians 9:11-14. In addition to making material
contributions for these purposes, present-day Christians
happily offer praise to God and use their lives in His
service. Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15. God blesses them for
using their time, energy, and other resources, including
their funds, to support true worship and promote the
worldwide work of preaching the good news of the Gospel.
Other Factors Promoting Happiness
To be happy, Christians must also "guard their thinking
abilities." Proverbs 5:1,2. This requires that they read and
meditate on God's Word and wholesome Bible literature. But
there are things to avoid. For instance, excessive drinking
of alcoholic beverages can make a person lose control of his
thinking. In such a state, many people get involved in
immoral behavior, act violently, and cause deadly accidents.
No wonder the Bible says that drunkards will not inherit
God's Kingdom! I Corinthians 6:10. Determined to stay "sound
in mind," true Christians avoid drunkenness, and this helps
to promote happiness among them. Titus 2:2-6.
A clean body contributes to happiness. Yet, many become
addicted to harmful substances. For example, consider the
use of tobacco. The World Health Organization reports that
smoking "kills three million people each year." Breaking the
tobacco habit can be difficult because of temporary
withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, many ex-smokers find
that they have better health and more money for household
needs. Yes, overcoming the tobacco habit or addiction to
other harmful substances will contribute to a clean body, a
clear conscience, and true happiness. II Corinthians 7:1.
Happiness in Marriage
"Those living together as husband and wife should make sure
that their marriage has been properly registered with the
civil authorities. Mark 12:17. They also need to view
wedlock as a serious responsibility. True, separation might
become necessary in cases of willful nonsupport, extreme
abuse, or the absolute endangerment of spirituality. I
Timothy 5:8; Galatians 5:19-21. But the apostle Paul's words
at I Corinthians 7:10-17 encourage marriage mates to stay
together. For true happiness, of course, they must be
faithful to each other. Paul wrote: "Let marriage be
honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without
defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers."
Hebrews 13:4. The term "marriage bed" denotes sexual
intercourse between a man and woman legally married to each
other. No other sexual relationship, such as marriage to
more than one wife, can be described as "honorable among
all." Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:18.
Fornication may bring a few moments of physical pleasure,
but it does not result in true happiness. It displeases God
and can scar the person's conscience. I Thessalonians 4:3-5.
The sad consequences of illegitimate sex may be AIDS and
other sexually transmitted diseases. "It has been estimated
that more than 250 million people worldwide are infected
annually with gonorrhea, and about 50 million with
syphilis," states one medical report. There is also the
problem of unwanted pregnancies. The International Planned
Parenthood Federation reports that, around the world, more
than 15 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become
pregnant each year, and a third of them have abortions. A
study showed that in one African country, abortion
complications result in 72 percent of all deaths among
teenage girls. Some fornicators may escape disease and
pregnancy but not emotional damage. Many lose their
self-respect and even hate themselves.
Although adultery may be forgiven, it is a valid Scriptural
basis for divorce on the part of the innocent mate. Matthew
5:32; compare Hosea 3:1-5. When such immorality results in
the breakup of a marriage, this may leave deep emotional
scars on the innocent mate and on the children. For the good
of the human family, God's Word points out that His adverse
judgment will come upon unrepentant fornicators and
adulterers. Galatians 5:19,21.
"For those pursuing a godly life, there is one day each year
to be specially observed. It is the Lord's Evening Meal,
often called the Memorial of Christ's death. Concerning it,
Jesus commanded His followers: "Keep doing this in
remembrance of me." Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25.
When Jesus instituted this meal on the night of Nisan 14, 33
A.D., He used unleavened bread and red wine, representing
His sinless human body and His perfect blood. Matthew
26:26-29. These emblems are partaken of by Christians
anointed with God's Holy Spirit. They have been taken into
the new covenant and the covenant for the Kingdom, and they
have a heavenly hope. Luke 12:32; 22:20, 28-30; Romans 8:16,
17; Revelation 14:1-5. Nevertheless, benefits are
experienced by all those present on the evening that
corresponds with Nisan 14 on the ancient Jewish calendar.
They are reminded of the love shown by our God and Jesus
Christ in the sin-atoning ransom sacrifice that makes
eternal life possible for those having divine favor. Matthew
20:28; John 3:16.
Employment and Entertainment
True Christians are under obligation to work hard and
provide for their needs. Accomplishing this brings family
heads a feeling of satisfaction. I Thessalonians 4:11,12. Of
course, if a Christian's employment conflicted with the
Bible, this would rob him of happiness. Yet, it is sometimes
difficult for a Christian to find employment that is in
harmony with Bible standards. For instance, some employees
are required to deceive customers. On the other hand, many
employers will make concessions to accommodate the
conscience of an honest worker, not wanting to lose a
trustworthy employee. Whatever develops, however, you can be
sure that God will bless your efforts to find employment
that leaves you with a clean conscience. II Corinthians 4:2.
"Since God wants His servants to be happy, we need to
balance hard work with refreshing periods of recreation and
rest. Mark 6:31; Ecclesiastes 3:12,13. Satan's world
promotes ungodly entertainment. But to please God, we must
be selective about books we read, radio programs and music
we listen to, and concerts, films, plays, television
programs, and videos we watch. If the entertainment we chose
in the past conflicts with the warnings in such scriptures
as Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Psalm 11:5, and Ephesians 5:3-5, we
will please God and will be happier if we make adjustments.
Christians know that only Jesus' shed blood is truly
lifesaving. Faith in it brings forgiveness and the prospect
of eternal life. Ephesians 1:7.
Clearly, living a godly life requires effort. It may result
in ridicule from family members or acquaintances. Matthew
10:32-39; I Peter 4:4. But the rewards of living such a life
far outweigh any trials. It results in a clean conscience
and provides wholesome companionship with fellow worshipers
of our Lord. Matthew 19:27,29. Then, too, imagine living
forever in God's righteous new world. Isaiah 65:17,18. And
what joy there is in complying with Bible counsel and thus
making God's heart rejoice! Proverbs 27:11. No wonder that
living a godly life brings happiness! Psalm 128:1-2.
"Now you too, in him, have
heard the message of the truth and
the good news of your salvation, and have believed
it; and you too
have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit
of the Promise,
the pledge of our inheritance which brings freedom
for those whom God
has taken for his own, to make his glory praised."