For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
— Romans 14:17
Years ago during a visit with Billy and Ruth Graham, I noticed while we were outside that their dog was continuously going around in circles.
“What’s wrong with this dog?” I asked them.
“He’s chasing his tail,” they told me.
I had heard about dogs chasing their tails, but I had never actually seen one do it before.
Like that dog, some people are effectively chasing their tails in life. They are chasing after happiness. But the best way to not be happy is by trying to be happy.
Our purpose in life as Christians is to know God and bring Him glory. If you will do that with your life, if you will get up every morning and say to yourself, “I want to know God, and I want to bring Him glory,” then you will find the happiness that has eluded you. You will find the satisfaction you have always wanted by having your priorities in order.
Anything short of this ultimately will disappoint, because true and lasting happiness never will be found in the things this world tells us to look for.
The Bible offers something better than happiness, and that is joy. Happiness largely depends on good things happening. When things are going reasonably well, we are happy. If things aren’t going so well, we are not happy. But we can have joy despite our circumstances.
The problem with happiness is that it’s generally derived from accomplishments, accumulation, and, to some degree, through escape. The trouble with that is we won’t always be able to accomplish something or escape somewhere. And the things we have accumulated will go out of style, break, get lost, or may be stolen.
If we live for happiness, we’ll never find it. We’ll be like that dog, constantly chasing his tail.