Happiness is a state of mind and it is close a cousin to contentment, or things, which everyone wants or desires. The dictionary defines happiness as, “enjoying peace and comfort, glad of heart and mind.”
Contentment is similarly defined as, “being satisfied, pleased.” Where is the individual that does not wish for more of this in his or her life?
The Bible is full of words about happiness and contentment and their synonyms. From the Old Testament, this theme is especially strong in the five books of poetry, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.
Although they approach happiness from different aspects and directions, they still speak of the happiness and contentment that should possess God’s people. It is a basic message of the entire book of Job. Psalms approaches the subject from many different angles; such as, the idea of forgiveness and mercy in the face of persecution (Psalms 23, 73).
Proverbs is also full of verses about happiness and contentment, especially as it applies to Godly wisdom. Ecclesiastes is a book about the richest man in the world (King Solomon) striving to find happiness, many times without God. He finally comes to the conclusion of the matter: “Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12.13).
In the next verse, he tells us “why” he reached this conclusion: “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
Then in Song of Solomon, we find the recipe, as it were, for happiness and love loyalty in marriage.
One also does not read very far at all in the New Testament before Jesus is describing happiness when using the term “blessed” (Matthew 5.1-12).
Over and over again in the New Testament we read terms like “the peace of God, which passes all understanding” (Philippians 4.7); “joy in the face of temptation” (James 1.2), and both, as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22); Paul explains to the young preacher Timothy, “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6.6); and he explains to the Philippian brethren, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4.11).
This did not mean Paul was complacent or apathetic, rather, that he had his priorities in order and that he was going to find contentment in the face of all obstacles, and not to be going around with a long face, being always unhappy. Philippians is a book of particular joy. Written from a prison cell by the apostle Paul, there is an attitude, a state of mind, that is prevalent throughout the whole book, but especially in the final chapter. His words, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again, I say, rejoice” resonated in his preaching and his life.
Such should be the case with God’s children today. In the face of political and social unrest, we can find happiness and contentment in God.