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A happy life

The Scriptures say, “If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others.” — 1 Peter 3:10-11

On one occasion, strikers on a picket line were asked, “Why are you on strike? What exactly do you want?” They replied, “We’re not sure, but we’re not going back to work until we get it!” They probably wanted what all people want—“a happy life and good days” (1 Peter 3:10). Peter had some advice for them on the subject.

Some think that being happy and being godly are mutually exclusive. Their perceptions of a life lived doing “what God wants you to do” (3:9) are negative in the extreme. But since God created us to live, He is the one who knows how life is to be lived and enjoyed. So a wise man accepts that there are certain things that God wants us to do, and in doing them true happiness is to be found.

This happiness is related to the fact that “the eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers” (3:12). Knowing this serves to produce a great sense of peace and well-being. Conversely, should a man choose to go against what God wants, he finds “the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” The resultant sense of loss and emptiness is the antithesis of “a happy life and good days.”

God wants people to establish moral principles based on His Word, and to “work hard” at human relationships. In the modern world, people often think that they alone can determine what is right or wrong for themselves, that what God has to say is fundamentally irrelevant. This is not the way to a happy life. God alone is the one who determines what is good and what is evil, and people are expected to know the difference and choose to “turn away from evil and do good” (3:11).

Since life is lived out in terms of relationships, the quality of one’s life is directly related to the quality of one’s relationships. Relationships are fragile, and the possibilities for fragmentation and resultant frustration are immense. But “loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds,” refusing to “repay evil for evil,” and “living in peace with others” will contribute greatly to a full life (3:8-9, 11).

The one who is not sure what he wants should realize that, deep down, what he wants is to be happy. So he should go about finding happiness God’s way. That way he’ll know what he wants and how to get it. And that should make him really happy!

For further study: 1 Peter 3:1-12

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.