Torah Portion KI TAVO – Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:1-29:8
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalms 16:11 NASB
Happiness as Defined by Psychology
Rather than searching for specific factors, positive psychologists have looked at how people interpret those activities that make them happy. They found three distinct sources of happiness: Pleasure, Challenge and Meaning.
Pleasure without challenge and meaning leads us to be bored and empty.
Challenge without pleasure becomes dry and wearisome.
Meaning is the goal. When you find the meaning of life, pleasure and challenge will be part of it. It will be wholesome pleasure and the challenge will be for a purpose.
The purpose of our lives is all contained in a book that Elohim has written. We will never be happy unless we walk in His pre-ordained road. By our free self will we choose whether we will pursue happiness on our own or if we surrender to the arms and will of our Creator.
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” Psalms 139:16
We’ll never enjoy lasting happiness unless we become a delight to the God that created us, by believing in Him and seeking Him above all desires.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NASB
His Divine Plan for us is always good.
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalms 139:17 NASB
There is a difference between feeling happy for a moment and happiness that lasts for eternity. Our feeling happy can occur when eating a bar of chocolate, getting more money, shopping, or having an extra-marital affair – and even when smoking a cigarette, taking a drug or drinking wine. But after the effect of the drug we use is over, we will find ourselves empty and needing more of the drug that never satisfies.
A self-centered quest for happiness apart from the Creator’s will always leads us to the curse and to eternal damnation. It brings nothing but misery.
Adam chose to pursue happiness apart from the Creator and all of humanity fell into an idolatrous and empty pursuit of happiness.
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Genesis 3:6-7 NASB
Their pursuit of happiness apart from intimacy and obedience to The Creator’s Commandments led them to the curse instead of the blessing and happiness.
“YHVH Elohim said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:14-19 NASB
The Second Adam, Yeshua the Jewish Messiah, paid the price of that evil choice which propelled us to the curse. His sacrifice set us free from it. When we make the Knowledge of His Father, our Creator, our goal, the curse is reversed. Then we find the meaning of life. The challenges we experience have a reason and a purpose – and He shows us the beauty of His Creation, enabling us to take pleasure in wholesome things that He blesses us with.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 TLV
I found true happiness when I said “Yes” to Yeshua, repented of all my sins which separated me from my Creator, and was filled with the Holy Spirit. True happiness on earth comes only from His Presence; cultivating an intimate relationship with Him will fill our empty places. There will be trials and difficulties, but as long as you keep on making the intimate knowledge of our Creator Elohim your goal, you will have pleasure and delight even in the midst of distress. You will overcome every challenge and will be in shalom, wholeness, completeness and wellbeing. Your happiness will not depend upon the circumstances of life but on His Word, His Promises and His Spirit.
“And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Luke 10:27 NASB
When you choose to work for Him and serve Him with all your heart, mind and strength, you will find the meaning of your existence and with it experience true lasting happiness. Instead of your own self-centered quest for pleasure, your life will be full and busy, serving Him and others.
Walking in Truth, serving God and others makes you whole, which is much better than a temporary happy.
“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:2-4 NASB
Let us Pray
Abba, Father, my Loving Creator: thank you for creating me for Your pleasure. Forgive me for trying to find happiness outside of You. I surrender to Your Loving Will for my life for the sake of Yeshua, Your Son, who paid the price for me to be reconciled with You, with Your Perfect Will and to obtain the Blessing that lasts for Eternity. I surrender to Your will for my life. Fill me with Your Presence that I may rejoice in You all of my days. In Yeshua’s name. Amen
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