The third installment of our series on mental illness will examine the contrast to depression. According to a story on mental illness from KPRC in Houston, depression is the most pressing issue many deal with in our day.
In our previous article we saw that the contrast to depression is being in a state of happiness. Satan’s world system offers many concepts to individuals to convince them of what will make them happy. Such concepts are in the form of stimulation, ambition, and self-indulgence. We receive a daily bombardment through television, radio, the Internet or other individuals of concepts describing happiness. The gambit ranges from money, success, fame, a sexual life, to material items of all kinds.
Yet, capacity for happiness must precede the function of happiness in an individual. Developing capacity begins by practicing divine standards in the area of morality, self-regulation, and self-determination. We must live a lifestyle as responsible, virtuous men and women of honorable, uncompromising standards in these areas. As a result, our capacity can fully develop.
As a result of having capacity, two kinds of happiness can develop. God has designed a particular happiness that can develop for the unbeliever and a particular happiness for the believer.
The unbeliever can develop a neutral happiness that has a basis on the divine institutions of marriage, family and government. According to Ecclesiastes 9:9, an unbeliever can derive a neutral happiness from a successful relationship in marriage and his occupation in life.
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labor which thou takest under the sun. (KJV Ecclesiastes 9:9)
A neutral happiness in these two areas comes to the unbeliever who develops honor and integrity. Unfortunately, the neutral happiness of an unbeliever is not perpetual because it ceases if they divorce or lose their job. You may note that Ecclesiastes 9:9 does not mention such factors as a social life, pleasure, emotion or stimulation as a source of happiness.
In addition, Ecclesiastes 9:9 refers to the life of the unbeliever as a life of “vanity” because their happiness is short-term. This happiness also does not go beyond the grave.
The believer, on the other hand, can develop a perfect happiness based on the Lord. The first step is to avoid conforming to the concepts that Satan’s world system offers. The next step is the function of perceiving, learning, retaining and the applying of Biblical principles. This is the mental renovation that Romans 12:2 teaches believers.
A believer who is consistent in this mental renovation will develop a perfect happiness which is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment happiness. It is a perpetual happiness that will carry you in the darkest and most difficult of times. The key to either neutral happiness for the unbeliever or perfect happiness for the believer is being free from any form of arrogance. This is what Romans 12:3 teaches.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (KJV Roman 12:3)
A form of arrogance that will cause a person to malfunction and have illusions is the arrogance of being unhappy. Individuals in this arrogance seek a false happiness that depends on the involvement within Satan’s world system.
The relationship that seeking happiness in Satan’s system amounts to is a moment of time, a moment of pleasure, a moment of history, a moment of power, approbation, or success. Unfortunately, perpetuation does not exist in anything that you have in a moment and is not true happiness. Far too often such moments have a relation to emotion, which do not sustain in adversity.
You do not recall these moments of good times when serious trouble comes, since by that time arrogance and fear have set in. Arrogance is a guarantee that you will never find any happiness as long as you live alienated from the laws of divine establishment for the unbeliever. The same is true for a believer that fails advancing in spiritual self-esteem and spiritual adulthood.
The beauty of perfect happiness is that it is the only happiness you can have always. This is true no matter where you are or your circumstances. The perfect happiness which we attain in time also goes with us into the eternal state. Therefore, although there is happiness and blessing for believers in the eternal state, the development of perfect happiness must be done here in time. This happiness is for living and dying, as well as for the eternal state. This is the reason the Scriptures continually exhort believers to develop their perfect happiness in the Lord now (Philippians 4:4).
Yet, how do you obey the exhortation to be happy? You certainly cannot be hypocritical and fake such happiness. To obey the command to "Rejoice in the Lord always" is something we cannot do any more than we can do anything for our salvation. On our own efforts, the only happiness we can have is a neutral happiness.
The execution of this divine mandate can only come through the residence, function, and momentum under the power of God the Holy Spirit. Through the combination of being under the power of the Holy Spirit and learning God’s principles we can progress through the stages of spiritual adulthood.
Hearing this command is one thing and knowing how to execute it is another. As with anything, there are many things you must learn to execute God's plan. Everything in life must be done accordingly and it is no exception with the Lord.
It is unfortunate that in our present day, Christians want instant solutions and miracles. There are no shortcuts, God requires us to learn His plan and His system to have His perfect happiness. It is a process that takes determination and consistency on our part.
Of course, the alternative is the false happiness that Satan’s world system offers. This is a happiness that ends in disappointment since it never brings the perpetual happiness we expected. As a result, this elusive search for perpetual happiness makes for many frustrated and depressed individuals.
As our featured story illustrated, depression is prevalent and a major concern for many believers and unbelievers alike. The arrogance of unhappiness, or pseudo happiness, not only seeks to dominate and enslave, but has wide emotional swings. It is one of the many reasons for many psychotic believers and unbelievers, which we will learn as we progress through these articles.