Do you have it? I know you want it! In fact, I've never met anyone who doesn't want it. If you don't have it, I know you are looking for it. Yet how sad that so few seem to be able to acquire it. Of course, you know by now I'm speaking of "HAPPINESS!" It's that elusive quality of life that brings satisfaction, contentment, and peace of mind and soul. It's that feeling of inner joy you have when you know your life is worthwhile; that it counts for something; that it has meaning and purpose.

Since the creation, man has searched for happiness in every conceivable place, and in every sort of worldly pleasure. But, at best, most folks succeed only in capturing moments of temporary satisfaction. Their lives are like a roller coaster ride, with fleeting seconds spent at the top of happiness hill, only to be followed by sudden plunges into the valley of sadness and depression. Then begins the long slow climb to the top of the next hill, where there will be a few moments, or a few hours, or even a few days of happiness, before the cycle begins to repeat itself with another plunge into the valley of discouragement and despair. If that describes your life, please understand you don't have to go on living that way! You can stop the roller coaster and get off, by looking to God's Word for the secret of happiness.

The life of Solomon is a perfect example of the folly of the roller coaster lifestyle. Solomon made the ultimate humanistic and hedonistic search for happiness. The book of Ecclesiastes is a record of his search and of his conclusions concerning what will and will not bring happiness. All would do well to consider his conclusions and learn from his mistakes. What follows is a thumbnail summary of his findings.

Solomon searched for happiness in knowledge and wisdom. The Bible says he was the wisest man to ever live (I Kings 3:12). But, knowledge and wisdom did not satisfy him (Eccl. 1:18). He looked for happiness in the realm of literature, as he wrote 3,000 proverbs, and 1,005 songs (I Kings. 4:32). But, again, this afforded him no real happiness (Eccl. 12:12). He searched for pleasure in riches and power too. I Kings 10:23 says he exceeded all kings of the earth in wealth. However, Solomon's conclusion was that wealth and power are hard to acquire, give no real pleasure, and soon vanish away (Eccl. 1-12). Finally, Solomon sought happiness in every sort of sensual pleasure. He withheld from himself nothing his eyes beheld or his heart desired (Eccl. 1:1-10). And yet, even in that, Solomon discovered only vanity and vexation of spirit (Eccl. 2:11). Solomon's final summation of His experiment (Eccl. 12:13-14), is a Scripture all of us should commit to memory. He said, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of men. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, of whether it be evil."

Solomon discovered true happiness is found only in humble obedience to God. The same is true today for all who seek genuine satisfaction out of life. Do you want to have a happy home? Then, put God first in your home! Do you want to do satisfying work? Then, work according to the principles of honesty, diligence, and fairness that are set forth in God's Word. Do you want to live a meaningful life? Then, put God first in your life. Do you want to go to heaven someday? Then, by all means, give God first place, as you yield your life in humble obedience to His will.

Happiness is not in what you have, or in what you do, but rather in who you are, and in who you are becoming by being a follower of Christ. As a certain well-known cartoon character might say, "Happiness Is Being a Christian!" The best part is, not only does Christian living provide big dividends of earthly happiness, but also it ultimately leads to the rich reward of eternal happiness in the kingdom of heaven.

By David McCain

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