“If I only had ______, I’d be happy.”
Quick! Fill in the empty space! No hesitation! That’s cheating. What was the first thing that appeared in your head? Was it “Jesus?” That’s the Sunday school answer, but I’ll take it. Kudos to you. If not, don’t feel bad. It wasn’t my immediate answer, either. Usually my response to that question changes daily. When bills are due, I’m convinced that just a little extra cash would solve every problem in my life. If my car starts to make scary noises, I’m absolutely positive that if I had a brand new car, I’d finally be content.
There’s an entire industry built around people telling us how to achieve true fulfillment at our job, in our marriage, and in leadership. Depending on who we ask, the ultimate source of joy and fulfillment can be found in daily meditation and scripture reading, or just more protein… so it’s probably wise to consider the source of advice.
If I had to pick just one person to help us answer the daunting “what do I need to be happy” question, it’d be David:
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord.” Psalm 119:1
Do me a favor and take just a second and consider David’s credentials. He boasts a true rags-to-riches story going from shepherd boy to king, and somebody God considered a man after His own heart. When David claims to know what brings joy, it’s worth pausing and listening. Also, it’s not like David arrived at this conclusion after living an easy, boring life tending sheep. His story takes us on a morality roller coaster. He’s been the hero of his own tale after slaying a giant, as well as the self-sabotaging villain when he succumbs to temptation, leading to an affair and a murder. When this guy says he knows that integrity, and following God’s instructions are the source of true joy, we can trust him. We certainly know he’s tried other things just to make sure.
So maybe we have an answer now, right? The guy who can truly say “been there, done that,” the man who had money, fame, and power is telling us that if we’re looking for joy, integrity is our guide. I think it’s best if we listen.