A recent UCLA magazine article introduces UCLA Professor Rakesh Sarin who contends in his book, Engineering Happiness: A New Approach for Building a Joyful Life, that “happiness is a choice.” Happiness equals reality minus expectations says the author.
The practical action items Sarin suggests include spending time with family, friends, enjoying a good meal and starting new hobbies.
I believe in living a happy and healthy life. I also believe that this happy and healthy life begins by making the most important choice in your life. There are important choices that we make – who to marry, where to live, what to do, and when to make all the decisions.
However, a few people think about why while many people talk about how.
The Bible (especially, the first three chapters of the book of Genesis) tells us a story where we discover why we want happiness and why we are so occupied in scheming or engineering our own happiness.
1. We want happiness because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27-28).
We are designed to be efficient (fruitful), effective (multiply), expansive (fill), excellent (subdue), and eminent (dominion).
2. We scheme and plan to be happy because we want to be like God on our own (Genesis 3:5).
Every parent knows the feeling of betrayal and rejection when a child willfully ignores and twists parent’s words. Adam and Eve and their children, the mankind, have rejected God as their Father and Friend and have chosen to be Fake gods and Foes against the true, living God.
Here’s the bad news.
You will always follow what’s better to make you feel better, but you will not find a lasting happiness because you are fake.
You will always surround yourself with people that like you and love you, but you will not find a lasting friend because you are an enemy of a true, living God.
Here’s the good news.
3. We have a promise of enmity that invites us to a real battle that is worth your life (Genesis 3:15).
True happiness comes from knowing your true Father and having a true Friend.
The offspring, or the Seed, of the woman is Jesus Christ.
Jesus who knew his Father came to be your true Friend in order to rescue you from your fake gods and to give you the right to know your true Father (John 10:30 & John 15:13).
Life is a beating. You will discover the beginning of happy life if you could just accept this reality.
Is there a way to live a life without getting beat? No.
But you have a choice: getting beat on your head or your heel.
Getting beat on your head
You will feel like your head is getting crushed every time you choose to be fake gods and choose to live in rebellion against Jesus and rejection of Jesus. Nothing makes sense. You have no purpose other than making yourself and your loved ones happy for a time being. Your heart aches from bruises from the crushing expectations, looming deadlines, broken promises, harsh words, and unfulfilled desires. You are busy trying to live life and find life in what you do.
Life feels like hell.
Getting beat on your heel
You experience life on earth exactly the same as those who choose to ignore Jesus if not worse.
But you will feel the peace, power, and the presence of your true Father and your true Friend in your head and in your heart if you choose to believe in Jesus, receive him, and follow him into the battle as your Lord and Savior.
You feel the burden of guilt, shame, and fear are lifted up because Jesus took them all on the cross as he died and the pains from your bruises are bearable and even enjoyable because Jesus rose from the dead to make you alive, heal the wounds and give you a hope of full restoration and health.
You know who you are – a child of God. You know where you come from and where you are going. You know your purpose and meaning of life. Your heart feels new desires to listen to your Father and to others. You want to love and lead others to Jesus. You experience the power and the truth of Jesus daily as you are renewed to reflect the image of your Father.
Life feels like heaven.
Jesus engineered happiness by living the perfect life on earth, dying the death of wretched on the cross, and rising from the dead to make you alive in him.
Would you receive the happiness of being rescued from fake gods and to true friendship with Jesus today?
1. Name the fake gods in your life and forsake them.
2. Name the sins in your life and receive forgiveness from Jesus.
3. Send me an email with your name in order for me to pray for you, find a family of believers near you and join the battle of enmity of Satan, self, and the world (1 John 1:15-17).