July 3: “The Pursuit of Happiness”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Kings 22:3–23:30
Acts 21:37–22:16
Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 18:11-12

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Psalm 1:1-2 (NLT): “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.”

Reflections from Scripture:

In my years of ministry, there have been a few people that seemed content to be sad. But they were the exception to the rule. Most people want to be happy.

The desire to be happy is something that God has placed within each of us. Naturally, we long for the happiness of Heaven, but we hope that we can experience joy even while we are alive on earth.

The problem arises when we try to achieve happiness in ways that are prohibited in Scripture. God knows how He made us, so He has instructed us on how best to achieve long-term joy in a way that is beneficial to us and others. 

So, the Psalmist begins with a three-step progression that undermines happiness:

  • Don’t “follow the advice of the wicked.” Simply put, be very careful when listening to unbelievers tell of how we can achieve happiness. They are approaching life from a completely different worldview. There may be some things that we can learn from them but always (ALWAYS!) measure what they say against Scripture.
  • Don’t “stand around with sinners.” If we listen to unbelievers and follow their unbiblical advice, we will slowly but surely stray away from the Lord. We may even eventually find that we enjoy the company of unbelievers more than Jesus-followers.
  • Don’t “join in with mockers.” If we listen to unbelievers, take their unbiblical advice, and then begin to feel at home with them and their worldview, we will eventually look with disdain at anything that has to do with Jesus.
  • If you want to learn more about how this progression works and why it undermines our ultimate happiness, tune in tomorrow (July 4) to the worship service at First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). Psalm 1:1-2 is the text for my sermon.

Then, the Psalmist tells us how to achieve healthy, long-term happiness:

  • “Delight in the law of the LORD.” Enjoy spending time reading, studying, and applying the Bible to your life. Realize that it is God’s love letter to you, and it instructs you on how to get to know and enjoy your God and how to live.
  • “Meditate on it day and night.” This is simply an elaboration on what was just said. Enjoy God’s Word so much that you find it pleasurable to reflect on it during the day and even as you lie on your bed at night.

When we read, reflect on, and live by the principles of the Bible, we are free to experience the happiness that comes from the blessings of God, a clear conscience, and so much more.

Psalm 128:1 (NLT): “How joyful are those who fear the LORD — all who follow his ways!”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to be happy. I realize that other things may be undermining my happiness and may require my attention. If there are medical issues, relationship problems, or anything else, please bring them to my attention. But I realize that a critical component of happiness is enjoying your Word. I want to read it, meditate on it, and obey it. As I do, please bless me with the joy that seems in such a short supply these days. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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