Summary: True happiness is found in something deeper than thrills and pleasures. Finding fulfillment in God’s purpose for your life and drawing upon that rich resource of His grace and love brings a consistent experience of abiding peace and joy. Using a humorous
Finding True Happiness
Today is Super Bowl Sunday and we’re going to have fun this evening watching the game together. One of the things I like about Super Bowl Sunday are the creative advertisements that companies spend millions of dollars to air during the game. That has gotten to be part of the entertainment. Sometimes people don’t even remember what product they were advertising but it was still fun to watch. One theme runs through all the ads—how can my life be more enjoyable and fulfilling. General Motors will tell you the secret is on the showroom floor as we speak. Pepsi will tell you it comes in a 12-ounce can or 16-ounce bottle. Those advertisers understand what motivates people—people want to be happy and enjoy life. So if they can market their product around that basic reality they will make money.
But what does a happy life look like? And how can I have that kind of life? Fortunately, the text in Psalms 1 that was read at the beginning of this service addresses those very questions—“Blessed is the man...” (Psalm 1:1).
Today’s English Version titles the Psalm “True Happiness” and opens verse one with these words, “Happy are those who...” and then it goes on to describe the source and cause of true happiness.
What will make you truly happy? A happy person enjoys God’s favor resting upon his or her life. You must be able to live with yourself (who you have become) in order to live happily. How is your relationship with yourself? Is there an answer of a clear and affirming conscience echoing in your soul? Have you found satisfaction in fulfilling your very purpose of existence? Happy people have discovered purpose and are living in that purpose.
When the Bible talks about our happiness it looks beyond temporary thrills and pleasures and addresses our need for deep sense of peace about who we are. Biblical happiness involves an abiding joy of living.
One thing is for certain for every one of us—wherever I am I’m going to have to find a way to live with myself. I’m going to have to find a way to celebrate who I am in God and celebrate life itself. And there are lots of things in the world that can rob me of that celebration. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV
God wants you to really live. God’s wants you to be full of life and enjoy life.
But there is a thief who will try to steal all that away from you.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) There is pleasure in sin for a season—but in the long run it always leads to misery—it only leads to a diminished capacity for enjoying life. Sin will implode your capacity for living. I like these soft aluminum cans of coke because even I can take one in hand and crush it. I started to bring one with me this morning so you could watch me do that. A can that has been crushed has a diminished capacity. It can no longer hold 12 ounces. When a life has been imploded by sin it loses (not gains) abundance of life.
Ask the person who has lived under the bondage of an addiction. The dream of fun and happiness became a nightmare of bondage and sorrow. There is a way that leads to misery and destruction and it is to be avoided at all costs.
Look at the stark contrast in our text between the godly and the ungodly— the one living under the blessing of God verses the one who has rejected God and become rejected by God.
Verse 4 “Not so the wicked!” After a wonderful description of a blessed life the Psalm takes an abrupt turn—“Not so the wicked!” Not everyone will enjoy the life God desires to give that person. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He passionately desires that all come to repentance and live eternally with Him. But in this life we choose our eternal destiny by our response to God’s offer of life. In this brief life we set our course for an eternity.
The contrast between a life that is blessed in God and the existence of the wicked is sketched out in this Psalm using two metaphors. On the one hand we are given the picture of a well-watered, fruitful tree representing a godly life enjoying God’s provision. In contrast to that, we have chaff—the worthless residue of the wheat stalk.
What does a blessed life look like?