How to Be Happy In An Unhappy World September 21, 2017


My favorite book of the Bible is the little New Testament book of Philippians. I love it for many reasons, but most of all, because it is a book of joy. Repeatedly we are told to “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). God not only commands us to rejoice, He shows us the way.

I believe the Lord intended for us to enjoy the journey. One of Christ’s favorite words was “blessed” or superlatively happy. In His closing words to His disciples He gave them instructions and said, “Happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17).

How can you be happy in an unhappy world?

  1. Stop trying to be happy. Have you ever noticed that many who are working so hard to be happy are often the unhappiest people you have ever met? Happiness is not a goal; it is a byproduct. A byproduct of living the life God intended for us to live.

On a recent flight an Italian businessman sat next to me and began to tell me all about his business, his homes, and possessions. He had it all. And yet there was emptiness.

I explained to my friend that life is like a large jigsaw puzzle. You can work hard to make all of the pieces fit, but if you miss the centerpiece the picture is never complete. Christ is the central piece. In fact, He is the whole picture! Without Him nothing else matters…

  1. Seek to know the One from whom all true happiness comes. Happiness is not a new car, a nicer house, a longer vacation, or more money. True joy is in Jesus. Happiness is in Him.

Read through the book of Philippians. It is full of Jesus! Not self-pity, self-promotion, or self-sufficiency. All eyes are on Christ. For Paul, it was the secret to joy even in jail – and it is the secret in every circumstance of life.

Place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Then live every day with your eyes on Him. People will disappoint you. Circumstances will disturb you. Only Jesus never fails.

  1. Start to help some unhappy person. As a boy I learned the little acrostic for joy: J-Jesus, O-others, Y-yourself. It is good for all of life. The happiest people are those who, once they have come to know Jesus, live to minister to others as Jesus would.

When we live to help someone else’s joy, we will find joy ourselves (2 Corinthians 1:12). God works on both ends.

We live in a sin cursed, sorrow filled world. But our God is greater than all of that! Read through the book of Philippians slowly. Ask the Lord to teach you His joy.

So many begin, like young Solomon, full of love and hope, but they end like old Solomon, in “vanity and vexation of spirit.” It doesn’t have to be this way. Jesus makes it possible to keep a Song of Solomon heart in an Ecclesiastes world.

There’s no doubt this world could use a special dose of Jesus joy right now! May God help you to experience it and use you to share it. We know we are going to enjoy the destination; let’s enjoy the journey.

For a free e-book download of the book of Philippians go to

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  1. Tony Perry on September 24, 2017 at 9:33 PM

    I appreciate this. We read it tonite as part of our prayer time.

    • Scott Pauley on September 29, 2017 at 10:19 AM

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for taking time to let me know. God bless you and your family.

  2. Alma Sanchez on October 4, 2023 at 12:24 PM

    God is trying to teach me his joy in this season of my life. It’s true he is the centerpiece of this crazy jigsaw puzzle of life. Thank you for the guidance Mr. Pauley.

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