The Pursuit of Happiness

by Lee Buford on October 22, 2010

The pursuit of happiness for many people is a never-ending, roller coaster ride through life. In fact, what most refer to as happiness would better be described as fleeting moments of relief from the ups and downs of a rather mundane and unsatisfying reality.

Happiness is contingent upon feeling and emotion. Happiness is emotion. It changes. It’s terribly inconsistent and unreliable. So why are we pursuing it with everything we’ve got? Why are so many folks basing their entire existence on a fleeting emotion?

I believe the answer lies in the fact that ALL of us know there’s something more, some better, something infinitely more satisfying than what we feel in our “happiest” moments. What too many of us don’t realize, or at least admit, is that we are incapable of providing that “something” for ourselves, even on our best days. We hunt, seek, beg, borrow, and steal…just for a few moments of self-gratification and release. Nightclubs and bars are full of people looking for an out. Unfortunately, many homes are as well.

Each of us will ultimately have to come to the realization that the only place we will ever find the lasting, desired state of joy, accomplishment, and pleasure we are seeking is when we fully submit our lives to following of Jesus.

The pursuit of happiness would be better labeled the pursuit of contentment. Paul writes, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11) and “there is great gain in godliness with contentment,” (1 Timothy 6:6). God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness, and the following quote from A. W. Tozer is great reminder as to what our role is as believers:

“No man should desire to be happy who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God, leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he should be.”


Unfortunately many of us don’t see it this way. And it’s painful to watch. In fact, one of the most heart-breaking things you will ever go through is watching family, friends, or co-workers struggling through life in search of happiness you know they’ll never find. Never…at least not as long as they continue to try to do it their way.

So what do you do? Pray! Prayer matters. Prayer reveals who you really believe is in control. Prayer reveals your true view of the reality and character of God.

If someone you know is helplessly running on the never-ending treadmill to happiness, pray for them. And, yes, talk to them and encourage them. But most of all, pray for them. Pray that God would open their eyes to their reality. Pray that they would submit to Him and give up the pursuit.

 If you are the one on the treadmill, pray. Pray that God would open your eyes to the fallacies of this never-ending pursuit. Pray that He would show you the way and that you would be obedient in following what He tells you.

It’s not easy. It never will be. But it truly is the only way to get to where you’re trying to go.

For only in Him do we find true contentment. Only in Him we will ever find the peace and joy of living the life for which we were created and purposed.


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