Happiness and the Meaning of Life

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Happiness and Meaning in Life

‘What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.’ Dalai Lama– the 14th Dalai Lama born Lhamo Dhondup, 6 July 1935, a monk of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism

‘The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.’ Audrey Hepburn -British actress and humanitarian.

The Reality, however, is:

‘I think I’ve discovered the secret of life – you just hang around until you get used to it.’ Charles M. Schulz– American cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Peanuts

‘It would seem like life is designed to frustrate us in our quest to find happiness.’ Sam Harris – an American author, philosopher, neuroscientist. New age atheist.

‘I love walking in the rain because no one can see my tears.’ Charlie Chaplin – Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin KBE was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer

‘Smile though your heart is aching. Smile, even though it’s breaking.’ From the song ‘Smile’ – Music by Charles Chaplin, Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons

‘The mass of men leads lives of quiet desperation.’ Henry David Thoreau– an American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher.

‘Live is hard, bloody hard.’ Jordan Peterson– Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.

‘Life is hard and then you die.’ Woody Allan– an American director, writer, actor, and comedian. Agnostic.

Happiness is a feeling or expression of joy – Collins Concise Dictionary. It is a fleeting emotion, a temporary feeling of excitement, now up, then down. An ever-evading dream. Grab it in the moment and soon it’s gone again. Build your life on this dream and times of heartache and desperation will soon be crouching at your door.  It is a temporary emotion.

It is Meaning that gives meaning to life.

‘Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.’ ― St Augustine – a theologian, philosopher AD 354-430.

‘When I finally reached the point where I expected the rest of my life to be very difficult, I suddenly found myself wholly changed. My soul, which had always been troubled, finally came to rest in a profound inner-piece.’ ‘God often allows us to go through difficulties to purify our souls and to teach us to rely on Him more (In this one rejoices greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7).  Brother Lawrence – a 17th-century Carmelite friar. From the book ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ – written over three hundred years ago.

I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless – Ecclesiastes 2:1 So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind – Ecclesiastes 2:17 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! – Ecclesiastes 5:10 In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow – Ecclesiastes 6:12 When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God – worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God – and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person. Ecclesiastes 12:13. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself – that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others-.’” Matthew 22: 36-39

The question of the meaning of life may be asked in many ways, such as ‘Why are we here?’ or ‘Does my life have a purpose?’ The Bible shows that our purpose in life is to build a friendship with God.

Consider some of these fundamental truths that the Bible reveals:

God is our Creator. “It is God that has made us, and not we ourselves.” — Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, not we ourselves and we are His. We are His people Psalm 100:3 “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.” Revelation 4:11. God has a purpose for everything He creates, including us. — For the Lord, who created the heavens (He is God, who formed the earth and made it; He established it and did not create it to be a wasteland, but formed it to be inhabited) says this, “I am the Lord, and there is no one else.” Isaiah 45:18.

‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever’ ― Westminster Catechism – 1646-7 by the Westminster Assembly, a synod of English and Scottish theologians and laymen.

  1. To glorify God: For from Him all things originate and through Him all things live and exist and to Him are all things directed. To Him be glory and honor forever! Amen.; Romans 11:36 You were bought with a price, you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own. So then, honor and glorify God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20 “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.” Revelation 4:11
  2. To enjoy Him forever: How blessed, fortunate, prosperous, and favored are the people whose God is the Lord! Psalm 144:15 “Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, For the Lord God is my strength and song; Yes, He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people Luke 2:10 Rejoice in the Lord always, delight, take pleasure in Him; again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Jesus the Christ: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, following Me as My disciple, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest, renewal, blessed quiet, for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world John 16:33

Peace I leave with you; My perfect peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge. John 14:27

And the peace of God, that peace which reassures the heart, that peace which transcends all understanding, that peace which stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus is yours. Philippians 4:7

This transcends, far exceeds happiness. Knowing God in a personal relationship, knowing, and being assured of the purpose of one’s exitance is the ultimate meaning in life.

Standing firmly on this rock of meaning, the waves of happiness that come and go, would suddenly lose their high priority in life. Enjoy happiness when it comes. And when it’s gone meaning will carry you to deeper levels in your love for God, for others.

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