What makes you happy? Is it when you get that big promotion? Is it when people do things you want them to do? Is it when you get a gift from someone? What about when you get sick or lose someone? Are you happy then? No, of course not. That is because happiness is a circumstantial thing. It’s dependent upon situations. Sometimes people will make us unhappy. It happens. Sometimes situations don’t turn out the way we expect them. It happens. So how do we deal with this emotional roller coaster? We look for contentment in all circumstances.
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
Let’s start by making it clear, as I think I have already have, happiness is circumstantial or situational. You can have happiness one moment and then in a flash, the situation changes and you can be completely miserable. You shouldn’t be seeking happiness because then you are always wanting good news and good things, and that is not the way of this world. This world has good and bad stuff in it, we have to learn to deal with them both. So how do we achieve the contentment Paul was speaking of in his letter to the Philippian church? Simple, get your eyes off the situation and off the people, even the ones who may be trying to help, and get your eyes on the Cross.
The apostle John wrote at the beginning of 1 John, his purpose for writing it was so that believers joy would be full. He was speaking of having fellowship with other believers and most importantly, fellowship with God and His Son. I can honestly say the moments when I am truly happiest, again circumstantial, is when I am spending time with the Lord or writing. But what if I couldn’t write? Uh oh, change of situation. Would I still be happy? Yes. Why? Well just because I can’t write, doesn’t mean I can’t spend time with the Lord. See that’s where my joy comes from, spending time with Him, reading His Word and praying. You can’t change that situation.
This world puts such an emphasis on being happy. “If only I had [insert generic external source of happiness here} I’d be happy,” is a phrase often heard. If it is an object, then you are hosed, because things can break or get lost or stolen. Then where’s your happiness, gone. If your happiness is dependent on a person, then you are equally hosed. People will let you down, it’s a fact. And it’s not that they are malicious, but life does happen and their own circumstances change, which then changes yours. And if it takes you making someone else happy in order to make yourself happy, you are stuck in a vicious and detrimental cycle. The moment that person’s circumstances change, your world goes into flux and you are not happy. Your happiness depended on theirs and now they aren’t happy so you aren’t. Situational, situational, situational. We need to be seeking and pursuing joy, which goes beyond situation and circumstances and is found in one person, the Lord.