“Do whatever makes you happy.”
“The most important thing in life is to pursue your own happiness.”
“Why can’t you just be happy for me?”
“God really wants me to be happy.”
These phrases get thrown around all of the time in our culture…even within Christian culture. So what does the Bible really say about happiness? Does God really want me to be happy?
Isaiah 55 tells us that in our pursuit of happiness, we are chasing the right thing in the wrong way:
"Come everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price."
Isaiah 55:1 actually brings up three drinks: water, milk, and wine.
Water is for reviving and replenishment.
Milk is for nourishment and strength.
Wine is for joy and gladness.
God is inviting us to find our holistic satisfaction in Him.
We are all searching for contentment, joy, satisfaction, and happiness. The question is, what are we turning to in this pursuit? In Isaiah 55:2, God explains that the ways we’re pursuing happiness and satisfaction are empty pursuits:
"Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?"
So where does true happiness come from? Isaiah 55:6-9 answers this question in a surprising way:
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
True happiness is a byproduct of repenting and returning to the Lord.
In light of Isaiah 55, here are six steps to go about seeking happiness through repentance:
Agree with God about where true happiness is found (Isaiah 55:9)
Confess to God (Where have you been trying to find your happiness apart from God? Where have you been mistrusting God and not believing that satisfaction is only found in Him?)
Confess to others (Allow the people that God has placed in your life to be a part of your growth and change)
Actually stop (repentance is not just mentally agreeing with God; you must actually cut yourself off from the places you’ve been going to in your search for happiness and actually return to the Lord and press into Him.)
Make it right (You are going to realize that there are some people that you’ve harmed in your selfish pursuit of happiness and you need to go make it right.)
Keep returning to God by choosing to enjoy Him. (Isaiah 55:2-3 and 7. This is the mark of the mature Christian life.)
Returning to God includes celebrating that God’s loves for you doesn’t change, despite how often you do. Repentance is brokenness that leads to celebrating Jesus!
Check out the full sermon here: