It is a sad situation, only 35 percent of Americans are very happy according to a New National “Happiness” Index.
Perhaps it is time for a new bumper sticker campaign. The bumper sticker should read: Know Jesus, know happiness. No Jesus, no happiness.
According to a Harris Poll of 2,513 adults surveyed online between March 11-18, people who describe themselves as “very religious” are among the happiest of people. Those who say they are “very religious” come in 10 points higher than Americans as a whole on the Happiness Index.
A similar trend is noted among people who say they “pray or study religion at home” on a daily basis compared to less often. More than four out of 10 people (43 percent) who engage in “daily” prayer or religious study are very happy.
So why are religious people who pray happier than most? Could it be people of faith find comfort and joy in their faith despite the challenges life throws their way? Is it possible those who practice their religion faithfully feel more confident and experience greater happiness because they live according to their convictions?
Christians understand James 5:13, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” There is a reason Christians would rather face trouble with God than experience trouble without Him. The same is true when it comes to how Christians deal with great loss. They have learned going through grief with God is certainly preferred to going through grief alone. It is the key to their happiness.
Mature Christians understand their source of happiness isn’t based on their happenings but their hope in a Savior who loves them and has a plan and purpose for their lives. It is hard not to smile when you read and believe a verse like Jeremiah 29:11 and apply it to your personal life. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, nothing will.
Next Sunday morning during the worship service, take a look around and see if the results from the survey are found on the faces of your fellow Baptists. Are the people in the pews happy, or is it a sad situation?
Perhaps a clue to the answer is found once again in the survey results. The survey clearly discovered that the happiest people are those who describe themselves as committed to their beliefs, pray and practice their faith at home.
Notice the survey did not indicate that the happiest people are those who attend church, act one way on Sunday but live another way all week and never talk to God. In fact, it is fair to conclude, based on life experience, that these folks are likely to be the most unhappy people in the world.
Happy or sad? The answer is determined by the source. Not happy? No reason to smile? Maybe it is time to take a hard look at the source of your happiness. Remember the bumper sticker? Know Jesus, know happiness. No Jesus, no happiness. Do you know Him or just know about Him? Life without Jesus is a sad situation. Life with Him brings hope and happiness eternal.
Lose the frown. To learn more about happiness found only through Jesus Christ visit www.mostimportantthing.org.