Our world gives us many messages on a daily basis telling us how to life a “happy” life. Take this and you’ll feel better, buy this and you’ll look as good as you feel, take that vacation and you will find the peace of mind you need!
I find, as I grow older and wiser, that those solutions to living a “happy” life are temporary. In other words, they don’t last. Sooner or later you come back from vacation. The $150 on the new dress you bought for a nice evening out might make you feel great while you’re in it, but you eventually have to take it off and return back to your every day clothes. So, how do we achieve happiness? Does happiness last?
In my Bible Study time this week, I spent many hours reading through Chapters 3 through 7 of Leviticus. Let me start by saying, these Chapters are somewhat daunting to read through. They talk about all of the various kinds of offerings the people were to present before the High Priests at the entrance of God’s Tabernacle in great detail. These offerings were made by the people to show the Lord fellowship, repentance, respect, and worship. Similarly, in the previous Chapters I talked about last week, the people were required to make sacrifices for their “atonement” or forgiveness. Many sacrificed animals; some made grain sacrifices, as well. But, the main reason the people were to make sacrifices to God were so they could be “right with the Lord.”
When there was an animal to be sacrificed, Scripture says that the animal was to be presented to the altar with “no defects.” This was a foreshadowing, if you will, of God’s ultimate sacrifice for us ~ His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was perfect and gave up his life for all of us. He had no defects, he was without sin. After reading through these Chapters, it is easy to feel insecure about what we have to offer God. What can I offer God with all of my defects?
The truth is that no one is without defects and God knows that. Because, of Jesus dying on the cross we don’t have to be perfect. Jesus died, so that we can experience eternal life in Heaven with Him. Thanks to His sacrifice for us, we don’t need to bring an animal to the altar. The blood has been shed in His name. We are saved by His grace.
Knowing this, it seems to me that maybe happiness is somewhat of an illusion. We definitely live in a world with many defects. There isn’t anything we can do about that. However, we can choose to believe that there is a reason for being here and we can be grateful for that and live our lives in a way that honors the gift we have been promised. That requires being honest. It requires asking God for forgiveness and asking Him for help in recognizing when we sin. It requires us to look within ourselves and dare to be better.
Maybe looking for happiness isn’t the answer. Maybe being content with the life we have and the blessings we have been given is a better perspective. I’m not saying that we can’t achieve happiness in this life. We can and do. In those times, I think it is important to thank our Creator for whatever it is that is making us happy in that particular moment and savor it. After all, this life is fleeting and it won’t last. But, one thing that will never change is God’s love for all of us. We just have to let Him in.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NLT).