Does Living a Godly Life Bring Happiness?

Spiritual activities balanced with periods of relaxation
contribute to the happiness of those living a godly life.

Jesus Christ is "the happy God," and He wants you to enjoy life. I Timothy 1:11. By walking in His way, you can benefit yourself and experience tranquility that is deep and lasting, like an ever-flowing river. Walking in God's way also moves one to perform continuous acts of righteousness, "like the waves of the sea." This brings true happiness. Isaiah 48:17,18.

Some may object, "People sometimes suffer for doing what is right." True, and that is what happened to Jesus' apostles. Although persecuted, however, they rejoiced and went on "declaring the good news about the Christ." Acts 5:40-42. We can learn important lessons from this. One is that our living a godly life does not guarantee that we will always be treated well. "In fact," wrote the apostle Paul, "all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted." II Timothy 3:12. The reason for this is that Satan and his world are opposed to those who live in a godly way. John 15:18-19, 1 Peter 5:8. But genuine happiness is not dependent on external things. Rather, it comes from a conviction that we are doing what is right and therefore have God's smile of approval. Matthew 5:10-12; James 1:2,3; 1 Peter 4:13,14.

There are people who feel that they can earn God's favor through occasional acts of devotion but can forget about Him at other times. True worship of God is not like that. It affects a person's conduct throughout all his waking hours, from day to day, year after year. That is why it is also called "The Way." Acts 19:9; Isaiah 30:21. It is a godly way of living that calls upon us to speak and act in harmony with God's Word.

When new students of the Bible see that they need to make some changes in order to please our Lord; they may wonder, "Is a godly life really worth living?" You can be sure that it is. Why? Because "God is love," and His ways are therefore meant to benefit us. I John 4:8. God is also wise and knows what is best for us. Since God is almighty, He is able to strengthen us to fulfill our desire to please Him by breaking a bad habit. Philippians 4:13. Let us consider some principles involved in godly living and see how applying them brings happiness.

Honesty Results in Happiness

Jesus Christ is "the God of truth." Psalm 31:5. No doubt, you desire to follow His example and be known as a truthful person. Honesty leads to self-respect and a feeling of well-being. Because dishonesty is so common in this sinful world, however, Christians need this reminder: "Speak truth each one of you with his neighbor.... Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work ... that he may have something to distribute to someone in need." Ephesians 4:25,28. Christian employees do an honest day's work. Unless their employer gives permission, they do not take things that belong to him. Whether at work, in school, or at home, a worshiper of God must be "honest in all things." Hebrews 13:18. Anyone who makes it a practice to lie or steal cannot have God's favor. Deuteronomy 5:19; Revelation 21:8.

Being honest results in many blessings. Selina is a needy African widow who loves God and His righteous principles. One day, she found a bag containing a bankbook and a large sum of money. Using a telephone directory, she was able to find the owner - a storekeeper who had been robbed. The man could not believe his eyes when Selina, though quite sick, visited him and returned the full contents of the bag. "Such honesty must be rewarded," he said and handed her a sum of money. More important, this man praised Selina's religion. Yes, honest deeds adorn Bible teaching, glorify God, and bring happiness to His honest worshipers. Titus 2:10; 1 Peter 2:12.

Generosity Brings Happiness

There is happiness in being generous, whereas greedy persons will not "inherit God's kingdom." I Corinthians 6:10. A common form of greed is gambling; which is an attempt to make money through the losses of others. God does not approve of those who are "greedy of dishonest gain." I Timothy 3:8. Even where gambling is legal and a person gambles for fun, one has to be careful, he could become addicted and be promoting a practice that has ruined many lives. Gambling often brings hardship to the gambler's family, who may be left with little money to buy such necessities as food and clothing. I Timothy 6:10.

Because of their loving generosity, Christians find joy in assisting others, especially needy fellow believers. James. 2:15,16. Before Jesus came to earth, He observed God's generosity toward mankind. Acts 14:16-17. Jesus Himself gave His time, His talents, and even His life in behalf of humankind. Hence, He was well qualified to say: "There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving." Acts 20:35. Jesus also spoke well of the poor widow who generously put two small coins in the temple treasure chest, for she gave "her whole living." Mark 12:41-44. The ancient Israelites and the first-century Christians provide examples of joyful generosity in giving material support to the congregation and the Kingdom work. I Chronicles 29:9; II Corinthians 9:11-14. In addition to making material contributions for these purposes, present-day Christians happily offer praise to God and use their lives in His service. Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15. God blesses them for using their time, energy, and other resources, including their funds, to support true worship and promote the worldwide work of preaching the good news of the Gospel. Proverbs 3:9,10.

Other Factors Promoting Happiness

To be happy, Christians must also "guard their thinking abilities." Proverbs 5:1,2. This requires that they read and meditate on God's Word and wholesome Bible literature. But there are things to avoid. For instance, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages can make a person lose control of his thinking. In such a state, many people get involved in immoral behavior, act violently, and cause deadly accidents. No wonder the Bible says that drunkards will not inherit God's Kingdom! I Corinthians 6:10. Determined to stay "sound in mind," true Christians avoid drunkenness, and this helps to promote happiness among them. Titus 2:2-6.

A clean body contributes to happiness. Yet, many become addicted to harmful substances. For example, consider the use of tobacco. The World Health Organization reports that smoking "kills three million people each year." Breaking the tobacco habit can be difficult because of temporary withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, many ex-smokers find that they have better health and more money for household needs. Yes, overcoming the tobacco habit or addiction to other harmful substances will contribute to a clean body, a clear conscience, and true happiness. II Corinthians 7:1.

Happiness in Marriage

"Those living together as husband and wife should make sure that their marriage has been properly registered with the civil authorities. Mark 12:17. They also need to view wedlock as a serious responsibility. True, separation might become necessary in cases of willful nonsupport, extreme abuse, or the absolute endangerment of spirituality. I Timothy 5:8; Galatians 5:19-21. But the apostle Paul's words at I Corinthians 7:10-17 encourage marriage mates to stay together. For true happiness, of course, they must be faithful to each other. Paul wrote: "Let marriage be honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers." Hebrews 13:4. The term "marriage bed" denotes sexual intercourse between a man and woman legally married to each other. No other sexual relationship, such as marriage to more than one wife, can be described as "honorable among all." Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:18.

Fornication may bring a few moments of physical pleasure, but it does not result in true happiness. It displeases God and can scar the person's conscience. I Thessalonians 4:3-5. The sad consequences of illegitimate sex may be AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. "It has been estimated that more than 250 million people worldwide are infected annually with gonorrhea, and about 50 million with syphilis," states one medical report. There is also the problem of unwanted pregnancies. The International Planned Parenthood Federation reports that, around the world, more than 15 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant each year, and a third of them have abortions. A study showed that in one African country, abortion complications result in 72 percent of all deaths among teenage girls. Some fornicators may escape disease and pregnancy but not emotional damage. Many lose their self-respect and even hate themselves.

Although adultery may be forgiven, it is a valid Scriptural basis for divorce on the part of the innocent mate. Matthew 5:32; compare Hosea 3:1-5. When such immorality results in the breakup of a marriage, this may leave deep emotional scars on the innocent mate and on the children. For the good of the human family, God's Word points out that His adverse judgment will come upon unrepentant fornicators and adulterers. Galatians 5:19,21.

"For those pursuing a godly life, there is one day each year to be specially observed. It is the Lord's Evening Meal, often called the Memorial of Christ's death. Concerning it, Jesus commanded His followers: "Keep doing this in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. When Jesus instituted this meal on the night of Nisan 14, 33 A.D., He used unleavened bread and red wine, representing His sinless human body and His perfect blood. Matthew 26:26-29. These emblems are partaken of by Christians anointed with God's Holy Spirit. They have been taken into the new covenant and the covenant for the Kingdom, and they have a heavenly hope. Luke 12:32; 22:20, 28-30; Romans 8:16, 17; Revelation 14:1-5. Nevertheless, benefits are experienced by all those present on the evening that corresponds with Nisan 14 on the ancient Jewish calendar. They are reminded of the love shown by our God and Jesus Christ in the sin-atoning ransom sacrifice that makes eternal life possible for those having divine favor. Matthew 20:28; John 3:16.

Employment and Entertainment

True Christians are under obligation to work hard and provide for their needs. Accomplishing this brings family heads a feeling of satisfaction. I Thessalonians 4:11,12. Of course, if a Christian's employment conflicted with the Bible, this would rob him of happiness. Yet, it is sometimes difficult for a Christian to find employment that is in harmony with Bible standards. For instance, some employees are required to deceive customers. On the other hand, many employers will make concessions to accommodate the conscience of an honest worker, not wanting to lose a trustworthy employee. Whatever develops, however, you can be sure that God will bless your efforts to find employment that leaves you with a clean conscience. II Corinthians 4:2.

"Since God wants His servants to be happy, we need to balance hard work with refreshing periods of recreation and rest. Mark 6:31; Ecclesiastes 3:12,13. Satan's world promotes ungodly entertainment. But to please God, we must be selective about books we read, radio programs and music we listen to, and concerts, films, plays, television programs, and videos we watch. If the entertainment we chose in the past conflicts with the warnings in such scriptures as Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Psalm 11:5, and Ephesians 5:3-5, we will please God and will be happier if we make adjustments.

Christians know that only Jesus' shed blood is truly lifesaving. Faith in it brings forgiveness and the prospect of eternal life. Ephesians 1:7.

Clearly, living a godly life requires effort. It may result in ridicule from family members or acquaintances. Matthew 10:32-39; I Peter 4:4. But the rewards of living such a life far outweigh any trials. It results in a clean conscience and provides wholesome companionship with fellow worshipers of our Lord. Matthew 19:27,29. Then, too, imagine living forever in God's righteous new world. Isaiah 65:17,18. And what joy there is in complying with Bible counsel and thus making God's heart rejoice! Proverbs 27:11. No wonder that living a godly life brings happiness! Psalm 128:1-2.

"Now you too, in him, have heard the message of the truth and
the good news of your salvation, and have believed it; and you too
have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit of the Promise,
the pledge of our inheritance which brings freedom for those whom God
has taken for his own, to make his glory praised." Ephesians 1:13,14

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