In our clinical discipleship ministry at Grace Fellowship International we usually have counselees read Handbook to Happiness. This book (by my mentor and colleague, Dr. Charles Solomon) presents a unique Christ-centered process of appropriating one’s identification with Christ. While many devotional writers have expounded upon the wonders of being “in Christ,” this message is especially relevant in guiding desperate disciples to a life of victory and rest.
However, some have objected to the Handbook’s reference to Happiness. “Is such an expectation of happiness realistic?” “Does it cater to self- interest, or depend on changing circumstances?” I need to come to the defense of the hope that the “life hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3) is essentially a happier life than any attempt at independent living. Happiness in the LORD is a realistic expectation for everyone who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
On the other hand, the author of Ecclesiastes gave full pursuit to relationships, education, achievements, fame, money and more, only to conclude that life is meaningless apart from knowing God.
Childrens’ ministry has a way of simplifying what is important for all of us. I remember this simple chorus that we would sing:
Happiness is to know the Savior,
Living a life within His favor,
Having a change in my behavior,
Happiness is the Lord.
Happiness is a new creation,
Jesus and me in close relation,
Having a part in His salvation,
Happiness is the Lord.
Real joy is mine, no matter if teardrops start;
I’ve found the secret, it’s Jesus in my heart!
Happiness is to be forgiven,
Living a life that’s worth the living,
Taking a trip that leads to Heaven,
Happiness is the Lord! 
Consider these top ten biblical reasons to find happiness in God:
1. You can be happy by belonging to the true God worshiping Him acceptably:
“Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, ‘The LORD be magnified!'” (Ps 40:16; 144:15b; 1 Chron. 29:22,30;30:21,23)
2. You can be happy at Christ’s birth:
[The angel declared] “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” (Luke 1:14)
3. You can be happy at His triumphal coming:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you.” (Zech.9:9)
4. You can be happy because of Christ’s sacrifice:
“Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3;52:7; 53:1-10)
5. You can be happy in His resurrection:
“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” (Matt.28:9; John 20:20)
6. You can be happy in the LORD’S salvation:
“…rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
7. You can be happy in the consolation of future rewards:
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5:12)
8. You can be happy in the hope of Christ’s Second Coming:
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7)
9. You can be happy in the fellowship of God’s people:
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.” (Acts 2:46)
10. Happiness springs from a choice of faith, hope, and love in God:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Phil 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16; Hab. 3:17,18
The devil would have us think that real happiness is found in sensual, temporal living. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is the One who created all things for our enjoyment (1 Tim. 6:17). Satan, however, uses pleasure to ‘bait the hook’ in order to lead people into bondage. But the wisdom and love of God lead us to gladness without regret.
Some authors have sought to awaken us to the quest to find real happiness in God. This has been boldly named “Christian hedonism”! It sounds strange, but–taken literally–it leads to a legitimate discovery: happiness is the LORD. For example, Clark Pinnock’s book Reason Enough, gives a defense of the Christian faith. In the chapter titled “The Experiential Basis of Faith” he concludes,
“I have seen the gospel as making us happy and fulfilling our needs, as giving us pleasure and satisfaction. But is this right? … Yes I think it is. … The Christian way is not hedonism in the ordinary sense, of course. It does not make a god out of sensual pleasure. But it does involve enjoying God and His gifts, pleasure deeper than all others.” 
John Piper endorses this conclusion: “Precisely! Christian Hedonism does not make a god out of pleasure. It says you have already made a god out of whatever you take most pleasure in.”
This is not to say that life in a fallen world will spare Christians of all pain, grief, and suffering. But our ‘true north’ is to regain happiness in the One who is the ultimate provider. Living in love and spiritual fellowship with God provides happiness of the heart.
Americans have been inspired by a founding document to value “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Don’t seek for this in empty entertainment or selfish pursuits, but from the One who is the giver of every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).
A Puritan writer voiced this confidence in the following prayer:
Help me never to expect any happiness from the world, but only in You.
Let me not think that I shall be more happy by living to myself,
for I can only be happy if employed for You,
and if I desire to live in this world only to do and suffer what You allot me.
Teach me that if I do not live a life that satisfies You,
I shall not live a life that will satisfy myself.”
May this be our prayer as well. So, friend, Delight yourself in the LORD!
 Granted, joy has a more unconditional quality and, as a fruit of the Spirit, is perhaps more fundamental than happiness. Nevertheless, Scripture encourages us to find delight, pleasure, and happiness in the life of abiding in Christ.
 “Happiness is the Lord,” Words and Music by Ira F. Stanphill © 1968
 Clark Pinnock, Reason Enough, IVP, 1980, p. 54. Quoted by Piper.
 John Piper. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. Multnomah Books,1986, 1996. p. 289.
 “…We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” The United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
 Quoted in The Valley of Vision. edited by Arthur Bennett. Banner of Truth Trust, p. 168.
Handbook to Happiness is available in over 10 languages and can be ordered at https://gracefellowshipinternational.com/product-category/books/.