Then along comes Jesus and turns the whole happiness thing on its ears! Imagine if you were listening to this itinerant preacher along the Galilee, thinking he was going to bring you free food and healing and hopefully freedom from Rome. And instead, he says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39). And then he says, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15b).
This was revolutionary teaching, and you can be sure that not everyone bought it. It went against their idea of happiness, and it goes against most people’s ideas today. What is your definition of happiness? It is revealed in the way you live your life, the way you spend your time and money, the priorities you establish, and the friends you pursue.
Happiness is a by-product of losing your life for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. That means, putting others first, investing major portions of your time and energy and resources into the lives of others, giving up your “rights” and relinquishing control of your life’s plan to the Lord.
For far too many years, I was determined to find happiness my way, and it took me about ten years to figure out that I had failed miserably. But when I finally gave it all over to Jesus, he has proven to me again and again that dying to self is the way to the abundant life he offers.
You’ll never find happiness until you take self off the throne of your heart, and put Jesus there. It really is quite that simple.