Think about your life, or more specifically your day, and make a list of things that make you happy. Now, what if all those things were stripped away from you, could you still be happy? Would the day be a good day, or a bad day? Would life still be worth living? I fear that many of us would answer those questions with an unapologetic, “no.”

While there is a sense in which we are made to be happy, the truest and highest form of happiness is found in our triune God. But long ago a poisonous seed was planted deep into the fabric of our being that has grown roots and born the fruit of dissatisfaction. That seed was the lie that we need something other than God to be happy in this life.

True happiness cannot be found apart from God

Of course, there are many atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, and “nones” who have found happiness in the world while rejecting the God of the Bible. I am not suggesting that there is no happiness apart from Jesus, but that true happiness, the deepest and most satisfying form of happiness cannot be found outside of the Lord.

If happiness is a contented pleasure, certainly all of us experience a form of it at different times in our lives. But if our happiness is found outside of God, then it must be found in the world, our circumstances, or ourselves, and these things are fragile, fleeting, and often fraudulent. The only happiness we can have outside of God is temporary, which sets us up for disappointment and even despair when it disappears. I know I have experienced this many times. 

True happiness cannot be found apart from God because pleasure apart from Him is never contended and is always concerned. True happiness cannot be found in relationships, wealth, status, or accomplishments because all of these things can be undone rather quickly.

True happiness can only be found in God

Our God is eternal, His purpose is perfect, and we are forever His. We find pleasure in the God who made us, gives us all things and works all things for our good. Yes, we delight in the gifts He gives us, but what makes this gifts so special is not the thing given but the One who gives it. Even if the gift is taken away through troubling circumstances, the Giver remains forever with us.

Life changes, but God and His grace are steady. This is why Job could say “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” and why James could say, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” and why Jesus could say, “Blessed are those who mourn.” For our truest and deepest happiness is found in God, not His gifts.

If we are going to be happy, truly happy, then we have to look behind the gifts we enjoy when days are easy to the God who gives them. And when days are dark we have to look beyond our painful circumstances to the God who loves us and strengthens us.

To find true happiness you must look to the Lord Jesus, find beauty in His character, fall in love with His work, stand in awe at what He has done for you and the future you have in Him. In Him we have joy inexpressible, especially in the midst of trials and temptations.

Looking to Jesus,



Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn grew up in Germany and then spent her teenage years in Africa, where her parents were missionaries. She moved to the United States for college and attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where she met her husband. They have been married for twenty-two years and have four children. Jen lives in the suburbs of Chicago, where her husband is the pastor of Redeemer Fellowship. Jen is passionate about theology and the connection to daily living.

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