1999-03-08 - If You Want to be Happy For the Rest of Your Life
Psalm 34:12-14 Who is the man who desires life, and covets days that he may enjoy good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
This passage is quoted in 1 Peter 3:10-11
The tone and hue of this passage is one of advice. Who enjoys life? Who loves living? Who wants to enjoy the good things? The Psalmist seeks to teach the reader. It is as if he says, "you want those things, then do these things. Keep your tongue and lips from evil. In fact, depart from evil completely, do good, seek peace and pursue those things."
It really is good advice. It was with these words that Jonathan Edwards admonished his congregation when he was being thrown out of it. There was a chance for a great division and adversity to occur within the church. Edwards told them, in his farewell sermon, to seek to avoid contention and linked this passage with 2 Corinthians 13:11, wishing the congregation to be, "of one mind."
I am sure I do not know the secret to happiness in this life, but I do know that some things help happiness more than hurt it. A family that has peace, a church that is unified, and a devotion to God that is steadfast are all things that aid happiness.
So how is this attained? The passage gives us a clue if not the answer. Those who keep their tongue from evil, do good, and seek peace are, at least, on the way toward a happy life. In fact, the beauty of the passage may be that it doesn't overwhelm us. There are only three things given for us to work on; watch our tongue, seek goodness, and peace. Those are big ones, but they are simple enough to allow us to evaluate ourselves.
Six men were traveling together a while ago. One asked the others to respond to the question, "Are you happy, fully happy?" The first to respond was one who had recently acquired a fortune on the stock market and had invested it so that he was now set for life. He had a devoted family, but the thought that he must one day leave these things made him fear the decline of his life. No, not fully happy.
An decorated officer from Desert Storm said he had known glory on the battle field, but during one battle had found a fellow officer dying. He tried to help his friend who said to him, "Thank you, it is too late. We must all die: think about it, think about it." The words haunted him.
A poet told of all the pleasures he had enjoyed with the Muses, of the applause of people, of his fame which was immortal, but in the end, he was dissatisfied. He said, "What is the worth of such immortality?" A lawyer, age 70, said he had worked his entire life to reach where he now was. He had health, wealth, reputation, and domestic happiness. He now had all he had ever desired, except one thing, he had no contentment and was not able to enjoy all that he had.
Finally, A painter said he had searched the world in vain for happiness. He said he had been led through his reading and study of the Bible to see himself a sinner, and to look upon Christ as his Saviour. Since then he had found peace, contentment, and joy. He had no fear of his death, which was as he saw it, just the beginning. He was happy now, and looked forward to the future.
Soli Deo Gloria,