Why Aren't We Happy?

Why aren't we happy? Maybe a better way to phrase the question is this: When we are not happy, why not? I think that the answer lies within a proper understanding of what makes people happy. Most people, sometimes even us, believe that happiness can only come from outside factors. If we only had more money, then we would be happy. If we only had the relationships we desire, even just one particular relationship, then we would be happy. If we only lived in the right place, had a better job, or even if we just felt better, then for sure we would be happy...


But that mindset is all wrong. It is not external factors that lead to true happiness, it is the internal factors - namely, or hearts! Consider the following:


He opens their ears to instruction and commands that they return from iniquity.

If they listen and serve Him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness.

Elihu, as quoted in Job 36:10-11, ESV


Do we see it? Happiness does not come from something that happens to us from the outside. If we want to live out our days in prosperity and pleasantness, then we must listen to what God says and then serve Him in that way. Moses said essentially the same thing just before he died:


So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul—then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

Deuteronomy 11:13-15, NIV


Note that Moses, through inspiration, said in essence that the blessings we desire in life stem from serving God with all of our heart and soul, and this service is prompted by our love for the Lord our God. So, if Elihu revealed that prosperity and pleasantness are the result of listening to God and serving Him, and Moses said that all of our blessings that lead to satisfaction are the result of loving God and serving Him with all of our hearts and souls, we can only be left with this conclusion: True happiness does not just "happen" to us by some quirk of random outside factors. True happiness (flowing from things like prosperity, pleasantness and satisfaction) is a direct result of service to God. Further, the way we serve will be dictated by His terms because we listen to what He says and the we do what He says because we love Him with all our hearts.


So, why aren't we happy? It's nearly always because we are looking to be served, rather than to serve. When we do serve God in His way, then we will begin to serve others. In other words we will be looking how to please God and our fellow men, and this service will lead to our own peace and joy.