Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 71—Happiness

Harmonious Action of All Powers—The harmonious, healthy action of all the powers of body and mind results in happiness; the more elevated and refined the powers, the more pure and unalloyed the happiness.—The Review and Herald, July 29, 1884. (Counsels on Health, 51.) 2MCP 641.1

Relation of Happiness to Health—So closely is health related to our happiness that we cannot have the latter without the former. A practical knowledge of the science of human life is necessary in order to glorify God in our bodies. It is therefore of the highest importance that among the studies selected for childhood, physiology should occupy the first place. How few know anything about the structure and functions of their own bodies and of nature's laws! Many are drifting about without knowledge, like a ship at sea without compass or anchor; and what is more, they are not interested to learn how to keep their bodies in a healthy condition and prevent disease.—The Health Reformer, August, 1866. (Counsels on Health, 38.) 2MCP 641.2

The Law of Action and Reaction—Our happiness will be proportionate to our unselfish works, prompted by divine love, for in the plan of salvation God has appointed the law of action and reaction.—The Signs of the Times, November 25, 1886. (Welfare Ministry, 302.) 2MCP 641.3

Doing Good Stimulates the Nerves—Every ray of light shed upon others will be reflected upon our own hearts. Every kind and sympathizing word spoken to the sorrowful, every act to relieve the oppressed, and every gift to supply the necessities of our fellow beings, given or done with an eye to God's glory, will result in blessings to the giver. Those who are thus working are obeying a law of heaven and will receive the approval of God. The pleasure of doing good to others imparts a glow to the feelings which flashes through the nerves, quickens the circulation of the blood, and induces mental and physical health.—Testimonies for the Church 4:56 (1876). 2MCP 642.1

Each Person a Source of His Own Happiness—A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. Uneasiness, dissatisfaction, and restlessness reveal the absence of the Saviour. If Jesus is brought into the life, that life will be filled with good and noble works for the Master. You will forget to be self-serving and will live closer and still closer to the dear Saviour; your character will become Christlike, and all around you will take knowledge that you have been with Jesus and learned of Him. 2MCP 642.2

Each one possesses in himself the source of his own happiness or wretchedness. If he will, he may rise above the low, sentimental feeling which makes up the experience of many; but so long as he is self-inflated, the Lord can do nothing for him. Satan will present ambitious projects to daze the senses, but we must ever keep before us “the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Crowd all the good works you possibly can into this life. “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).—Testimonies for the Church 5:487, 488 (1889). 2MCP 642.3

Man's Strongest Impulse—The Bible presents to our view the unsearchable riches and immortal treasures of heaven. Man's strongest impulse urges him to seek his own happiness, and the Bible recognizes this desire and shows us that all heaven will unite with man in his efforts to gain true happiness. It reveals the condition upon which the peace of Christ is given to men. It describes a home of everlasting happiness and sunshine where no tears or want shall ever be known.—Letter 28, 1888. (My Life Today, 160.) 2MCP 643.1

Christian Enjoys Real Happiness—If there is anyone who should be continually grateful, it is the follower of Christ. If there is anyone who enjoys real happiness, even in this life, it is the faithful Christian.—Letter 18, 1859. (Our High Calling, 201.) 2MCP 643.2

We should be the happiest people on the face of the earth, and not begging pardon of the world for being Christians.—Manuscript 17, 1893. 2MCP 643.3

A Never-Failing Friend—This is Jesus, the life of every grace, the life of every promise, the life of every ordinance, the life of every blessing. Jesus is the substance, the glory and fragrance, the very life itself. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Then the royal path cast up for the ransomed to walk in is not discouraging darkness. Our pilgrimage would indeed be lonely and painful were it not for Jesus. “I will not,” He says, “leave you comfortless” (John 14:18). Then let us gather every registered promise. Let us repeat them by day and meditate upon them in the night season, and be happy.—Letter 7, 1892. (Selected Messages 2:244.) 2MCP 643.4

Happiness Not Self-willed—Jesus wants you to be happy, but you cannot be happy in having your own way and following the impulses of your own heart.... Our notions, our peculiarities, are wholly human and must not be humored or indulged. Self is to be crucified, not now and then but daily, and the physical, mental, and spiritual must be subordinate to the will of God. The glory of God, the perfection of Christian character, is to be the aim, the purpose, of our life. Christ's followers must imitate Christ in disposition.... Like Christ is the watchword, not like your father or your mother, but like Jesus Christ—hid in Christ, clothed with Christ's righteousness, imbued with the Spirit of Christ.—Letter 25, 1882. (Our High Calling, 29.) 2MCP 643.5

Selfish Happiness Is Ill Balanced—Happiness that is sought from selfish motives, outside of the path of duty, is ill balanced, fitful, and transitory; it passes away, and the soul is filled with loneliness and sorrow; but there is joy and satisfaction in the service of God. The Christian is not left to walk in uncertain paths; he is not left to vain regrets and disappointments. If we do not have the pleasures of this life, we may still be joyful in looking to the life beyond.—Steps to Christ, 124, 125 (1892). 2MCP 644.1

Heart at Peace With God—At the foundation of the ruin of many homes lies the passion for display. Men and women scheme and plan to get means in order that they may appear richer than their neighbors. But even though they may succeed in their desperate struggle, they are not truly happy. True happiness springs from a heart at peace with God.—Manuscript 99, 1902. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:941, 942.) 2MCP 644.2

Love Brings Happiness—From a worldly point of view, money is power; but from the Christian standpoint, love is power. Intellectual and spiritual strength are involved in this principle. Pure love has special efficacy to do good, and can do nothing but good. It prevents discord and misery, and brings the truest happiness. Wealth is often an influence to corrupt and destroy; force is strong to do hurt; but truth and goodness are the properties of pure love.—Testimonies for the Church 4:138 (1876). 2MCP 644.3

The Golden Rule Makes Happiness—“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12). The Saviour taught this principle to make mankind happy, not unhappy; for in no other way can happiness come. God desires men and women to live the higher life. He gives them the boon of life, not to enable them merely to gain wealth, but to improve their higher powers by doing the work He has entrusted to mankind—the work of searching out and relieving the necessities of their fellowmen. Man should work not for his own selfish interest but for the interest of every one about him, blessing others by his influence and kindly deeds. This purpose of God is exemplified in Christ's life.—Manuscript 132, 1902. (My Life Today, 165.) 2MCP 645.1

Happiness in Doing—It matters not what our position may be or how limited our capacities, we have a work to do for the Master. Our graces are developed and matured by exercise. With the truth of God burning in the soul, we cannot be idle. The happiness we shall experience in doing will compensate even in this life for every effort. Those only who have experienced happiness resulting from self-denying effort in the service of Christ can speak of the matter understandingly. It is indeed joy so pure, so deep, that language cannot express it.—Letter 9, 1873. (Our High Calling, 186.) 2MCP 645.2

Our Happiness the Happiness of Others—Christ makes His church a beautiful temple for God. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name,” He declared, “there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). His church is the court of holy life, filled with varied gifts, and endowed with the Holy Spirit. Appropriate duties are assigned by Heaven to each member of the church on earth, and all are to find their happiness in the happiness of those whom they help and bless.—The Signs of the Times, March 1, 1910. (Our High Calling, 164.) 2MCP 645.3

Benefits the Whole System—If the mind is free and happy, from a consciousness of rightdoing and a sense of satisfaction in causing happiness to others, it creates a cheerfulness that will react upon the whole system, causing a freer circulation of the blood and a toning up of the entire body. The blessing of God is a healing power, and those who are abundant in benefiting others will realize that wondrous blessing in both heart and life.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 3, (1890). (My Life Today, 150.) 2MCP 646.1

Those who follow the path of wisdom and holiness will not be troubled with vain regrets over misspent hours, neither will they be troubled with gloom or horror of mind, as some are, unless engaged in vain, trifling amusements.—The Health Reformer, March, 1872. (My Life Today, 150.) 2MCP 646.2

Happiness Within Reach—The world is full of dissatisfied spirits who overlook the happiness and blessings within their reach and are continually seeking for happiness and satisfaction that they do not realize. They are constantly on the stretch for some expected, far-off good greater than they possess and are ever in a state of disappointment. They cherish unbelief and ingratitude in that they overlook the blessings right in their pathway. The common, everyday blessings of life are unwelcome to them, as was the manna to the children of Israel.—Testimonies for the Church 2:640 (1871). 2MCP 646.3

Amusements Excite, but React in Depression—Amusements excite the mind, but depression is sure to follow. Useful labor and physical exercise will have a more healthful influence upon the mind and will strengthen the muscles, improve the circulation, and will prove a powerful agent in the recovery of health.—The Health Reformer, March, 1872. (My Life Today, 150.) 2MCP 646.4

Seeking Happiness the Wrong Way (counsel to a young man)—One year ago we labored for your interest. I had been shown your dangers, and we were desirous of saving you; but we see you have not had strength to carry out the resolutions there made. I am troubled over the matter.… While in Battle Creek in June I was again shown that you were not making any advance and that the reason you were not is that you have not made a clean track behind you. You do not enjoy religion. You have departed from God and righteousness. You have been seeking happiness in the wrong way, in forbidden pleasures; and you have not moral courage to confess and forsake your sins that you may find mercy.—Testimonies for the Church 2:291 (1869). 2MCP 646.5

Clear Conscience and God's Approval Versus Natural Passions and Carnal Heart—Of what good would He deprive us? He would deprive us of the privilege of giving up to the natural passions of the carnal heart. We cannot get angry just when we please and retain a clear conscience and the approval of God. But are we not willing to give this up? Will the indulgence of corrupt passions make us any happier? It is because it will not that restrictions are laid upon us in this respect. 2MCP 647.1

It will not add to our enjoyment to get angry and cultivate a perverse temper. It is not for our happiness to follow the leadings of the natural heart. And shall we be made better by indulging them? No; they will cast a shadow in our households and throw a pall over our happiness. Giving way to the natural appetites will only injure the constitution and tear the system to pieces. Therefore God would have us restrict the appetite, control the passions, and hold in subjection the entire man. And He has promised to give us strength if we will engage in this work.—Testimonies for the Church 2:590, 591 (1871). 2MCP 647.2

Promote Health and Long Life—Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life. A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul. “A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).—The Ministry of Healing, 241 (1905). 2MCP 647.3

A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is in the pathway to health.—The Review and Herald, March 11, 1880, par. 11. (My Life Today, 150.)RH, March 11, 1880 par. 11 2MCP 648.1

Result of Obedience to Physical Laws—Health, life, and happiness are the result of obedience to physical laws governing our bodies. If our will and way are in accordance with God's will and way; if we do the pleasure of our Creator, He will keep the human organism in good condition and restore the moral, mental, and physical powers in order that He may work through us to His glory. Constantly His restoring power is manifested in our bodies. If we cooperate with Him in this work, health and happiness, peace and usefulness, are the sure results.—Manuscript 151, 1901. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 1:1118.) 2MCP 648.2

Healing for Invalids—Let invalids do something instead of occupying their minds with a simple play, which lowers them in their own estimation and leads them to think their lives useless. Keep the power of the will awake, for the will aroused and rightly directed is a potent soother of the nerves. Invalids are far happier to be employed, and their recovery is more easily effected.—Testimonies for the Church 1:557 (1867). 2MCP 648.3

Country Living and Happiness (counsel to a mother)—True, you would not be entirely free from annoyances and perplexing cares in the country; but you would there avoid many evils and close the door against a flood of temptations which threaten to overpower the minds of your children. They need employment and variety. The sameness of their home makes them uneasy and restless, and they have fallen into the habit of mingling with the vicious lads of the town, thus obtaining a street education 2MCP 648.4

To live in the country would be very beneficial to them; an active, out-of-door life would develop health of both mind and body. They should have a garden to cultivate, where they might find both amusement and useful employment. The training of plants and flowers tends to the improvement of taste and judgment, while an acquaintance with God's useful and beautiful creations has a refining and ennobling influence upon the mind, referring it to the Maker and Master of all.—Testimonies for the Church 4:136 (1876). 2MCP 648.5

Seeking “Our Rights.”—Those we love may speak or act unguardedly, which may wound us deeply. It was not their intention to do this; but Satan magnifies their words and acts before the mind, and thus hurls a dart from his quiver to pierce us. We brace ourselves to resist the one whom we think has injured us, and by so doing we encourage Satan's temptations. 2MCP 649.1

Instead of praying to God for strength to resist Satan, we suffer our happiness to be marred by trying to stand for what we term “our rights.” Thus we allow Satan a double advantage. We act out our aggrieved feelings, and Satan uses us as his agents to wound and distress those who did not intend to injure us. 2MCP 649.2

The requirements of the husband may sometimes seem unreasonable to the wife, when if she should calmly, candidly take the second view of the matter, in as favorable a light for him as possible, she would see that to yield her own way and submit to his judgment, even if it conflicted with her feelings, would save them both from unhappiness and would give them great victory over the temptations of Satan.—Testimonies for the Church 1:308, 309 (1862). 2MCP 649.3

God Removes Hindrances to Happiness—God seeks our real happiness. If anything lies in the way of this, He sees it must first be removed. He will thwart our purposes and disappoint our expectations and bring us through disappointments and trials to reveal to us ourselves as we are.… Sin is the cause of all our woes. If we would have true peace and happiness of mind, sin must be removed.—Letter 29, 1879. (Our High Calling, 81.) 2MCP 649.4

Some Would Not Be Happy in Heaven—Could those whose lives have been spent in rebellion against God be suddenly transported to heaven and witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever exists there—every soul filled with love, every countenance beaming with joy, enrapturing music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb, and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the redeemed from the face of Him who sits upon the throne—could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throng and join their songs of praise? Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb? No, no; years of probation were granted them that they might form characters for heaven, but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of heaven, and now it is too late. 2MCP 650.1

A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves and just and merciful on the part of God.—The Great Controversy, 542, 543 (1888). 2MCP 650.2

Yours May Be a Joyous Life—Let us all have confidence in God. Press your way through the shadow which Satan throws across your pathway and take hold of the arm of Jesus, the Mighty One. Let your case rest in His hands. Let your prayer be, “Lord, I present my petition to Thee. I put my trust in Thee, and I ask for the blessing that Thou seest will be for my present and future usefulness and my eternal good.” When you arise from your knees, believe! When the enemy comes with his darkness, sing faith and talk faith, and you will find that you have sung and talked yourself into the light. 2MCP 650.3

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Those who do this have a joyous life. No unpleasantness comes from their lips or from the atmosphere surrounding the soul, for they do not feel that they are better than others. Hide in Jesus Christ; then all the time the truth of God will be fitting you up for the future, immortal life. When you have confidence in the Mighty One, your experience is not borrowed; it is your own.—Manuscript 91, 1901. 2MCP 651.1

Increasing Happiness Throughout Eternity—As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. 2MCP 651.2

All that human nature can bear, we may receive here. But what is this compared with the hereafter? There “are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:15-17).—The Desire of Ages, 331, 332 (1898). 2MCP 651.3