Happiness is not extrinsic based on this world, but intrinsic determined by your faith in Christ. The teaching pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky is Kyle Idleman. I like what he says regarding happiness: “You don’t deserve to be happy. You deserve to go to Hell… but Jesus saved you, and that should make you happy.” Because of this salvation, Idleman explains, “When things don’t go how you want them to, you are a spiritual billionaire ringing your hand over ten dollars.” Happiness is found only in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it is an authentic response to God’s Love for you. God wants you to be happy, but happy through His Son—because that is where the only true happiness is received.
Idleman gives an explanation of where true happiness comes from in one of his sermons, and it is similar to this: Our culture says that happiness is truly from pursuing pleasure, is based on circumstances, fueled by comparison, comes from focusing on yourself, and is found by chasing; but God says that happiness comes from pursuing holiness, is based on Christ, fueled by gratitude, comes from focusing on others, and is received by faith in Christ. Happiness comes from pursuing holiness.
World-class philosopher and theologian Dr. William Lane Craig explains it in a great way:
Holiness is the secret to happiness. What does Jesus say in Matthew 6:33? “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” Jesus says, don’t focus on material possessions, food, clothing, length of life, and so forth – he says those aren’t the important things. He says seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be taken care of; they will be yours as well.
This is such a paradox because people want so desperately to be happy; they want to find happiness. But I have found that happiness is sort of like a will-o’-the-wisp. A will-o’-the-wisp is something that when you seek it and you try to seize it, it always eludes your grasp. You can’t get it. You grasp for it, and it goes on further. That is the way happiness is. If you seek happiness directly, you never find it. It is sort of like the person who says, “Are we having fun yet?” If you go out with that as your aim, you are not going to have fun. Fun is a byproduct of activity. Happiness pursued directly will always elude your grasp. The secret of the Christian life is that you seek, not happiness in life, but seek holiness. When you do that, all of a sudden you discover that happiness has crept up behind you and is there on your shoulder and that you are leading a tremendously happy life because you have been seeking the holiness of God.
“Doctrine of God (part 19).” Transcript: Doctrine of God (part 19) | Reasonable Faith. Accessed October 24, 2017. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/defenders-2-podcast/transcript/s3-19