Teaching Teens About Happiness

How to Make Happiness a Way of Life

Inspirational Path in the Woods and Quote from Proverbs
Ask just about anyone what they want most out of life, and most answer, "To be happy." However, the word Happiness is vague because it means different things to different people. And it is usually short-lived because it is conditional and based on circumstances or situations, which can change quickly without warning.

By definition, Happiness means delighted, pleased or glad, and indicates pleasure or contentment. And yet, it is subject to innumerable variables. One minute a person can be happy, and the next, unhappy. Things make people happy. People make people happy. Entertainment, humor, conversation, even food can make people happy.

In the well-known words of Jesus spoken at the Sermon on the Mount (also known as The Beatitudes), the word "blessed" can be translated as "happy." For example:

"Those who have sorrow are happy, because they will be comforted. Those who have no pride in their hearts are happy, because the earth will be given to them. Those who are hungry and thirsty to be right with God are happy, because they will be filled." (Matthew 5:4-6 New Life Version)

The above Scriptural concept of "happy" is hard for many people to understand because it doesn't communicate a modern sense of the word. Anyone suffering, poor, hungry, thirsty, or mourning might think of Matthew 5:4-6 as unrealistic. This is perhaps why it is better translated "blessed" in contrast to cursed, rather than "happy" in contrast to unhappiness, because those suffering or in need are usually unhappy about their circumstances.

God's Word teaches about a way of thinking and living that doesn't come natural to the human mind. According to Scripture, believers are to be internally at peace even when challenged with outward situations and circumstances that bring confusion and chaos. The Word confirms that no one can control the struggles or temptations that arise, but everyone can control how they react or respond to them. Jesus taught about building on a solid rock, not shifting sand.

"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." (Matthew 7:24-27)

A wonderful collection of Godly wisdom is the book of Proverbs. Proverbs are sayings that express unchanging truths that govern life. All people, young and old, can benefit from reading and learning the Proverbs.

"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding." (Prov. 3:13)

Wisdom and understanding last longer than riches, and enable one to make good decisions in life, leading to satisfaction and contentment, regardless of any temporary negative circumstances.

"He who despises his neighbor sins, but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he." (Prov. 14:21)

Doing the loving thing is always the right thing to do, because love never fails, according to 1 Corinthians 13:8. The person who is kind and merciful is truly happy -- a happiness which can never be taken away.

"He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he." (Prov. 16:20)

Obeying God's Word will certainly bring blessings, and trusting God is trust well placed. God is always trustworthy.

"Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." (Prov. 28:14)

Loving God and having a holy reverence for Him is a smart and safe way to think and live. It's good to avoid as many pitfalls and disasters in life as one can, and honoring God will result in a life well lived. This is what it means to be genuinely happy.

Written by: Pete Miller