We all want to be happy, but chasing happiness can sometimes feel like an endless pursuit. This is especially true when we believe our happiness is contingent upon something else. We tell ourselves “I’ll be happy when_________”, certain that once we attain it we will feel satisfied. The blank is always filled with what we perceive is missing from our lives. Often our happiness is pinned on other people or life circumstances. This leaves our happiness completely out of our hands since all of these things are subject to change. It’s only a matter of time before our pursuit will begin again. 

The sad truth is that no matter how much we have, nothing ever completely satisfies. No matter how much we have we continue to want more. The inability to feel satisfied causes discontentment with what we already have. Unfortunately, when we look for unchanging happiness in a constantly changing world, something will always missing. That’s because contentment is a gift from God.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

Ecclesiates 3:12-13

Without God we are only able to feed our physical desires, but as we do we become spiritually empty. When unable to fill this void we become self-destructive.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these

Galatians 5:19-21

The world only offers a cheap imitation of what God provides. Knowledge instead of wisdom, power instead of strength, winning instead of peace, information instead of truth, or sex instead of intimacy. Why do we settle for less when God wants to give us so much more?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Worldly substitutes may bring temporary happiness, but God provides joy that endures even during the hardest times. Joy stems from faith, and is rooted in the hope we have in Jesus Christ. God is a loving father who always keeps his promises, so we can trust him with our future. No matter what difficulties we face, we already have all we need through Jesus.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Phillipians 4:11-13