Psalm 1 defines the pursuit of happiness, first of all, in terms of where it is not found. I really appreciate that because it keeps me from wasting my time looking in places where I will not and cannot find it.
Where Happiness Isn’t
God’s Word says, “Blessed is the man who”
#1 “walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.”
The first place to mark as “Where not to find happiness” is the counsel, the advice, of the ungodly – people without God. Ungodly counsel says, “Happiness is doing whatever you want to do. Jump over the boundaries. You’ll never be happy unless you just do whatever the urge is. If it feels good do it.”
Ungodly counsel says that true happiness is found in rejecting every outside authority, and being your own authority, being your own person. That true happiness is all about self-centeredness. This type of counsel says, “Think about your rights. Think about your privileges. Hang on to them. Never let them go.”
Therefore you construct a world in which everything in that world serves you. Of course, that is a direct contradiction of Godly counsel. Christ taught that an identifying mark of a Christian is a servant’s heart, not a “serve me” heart. If you’re walking in that way, you’re not going to find happiness there.
“Blessed is the man who”
#2 “standeth [not] in the way of sinners”.
Now, just who are sinners? Well, I am a sinner. You are a sinner. In fact, we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
The psalmist is referring to people who live their lives not giving God a second thought, offending God on a regular basis with their life-style. Please let us always remember that sin at its very core first and foremost is an offense against God, and happiness will not be found there.
“Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners”, and
#3 “nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful (the scoffers).”
The scornful are those who mock God, His Word, and Christianity in general. They scoff at the idea of an absolute authority, of an absolute right and wrong. They hold Christ, and those who are devoted to Him, in derision. That is the seat of the scornful. When you look for happiness apart from God, in sin, things go from bad to worse.
First walking near sin; living by the counsel and advice of those who forget God. That leads to standing with those who disregard God and live in contempt of the Lord. The next step from there is to blow God off. Now you have settled in and start to take up space with those who mock the Lord, His word, and eternity.
Have you noticed the pattern that is laid out here? Association becomes identification which leads to a fixation with things that may bring happiness for a time, but in the end only bring heartache and ruin. This is not the path to true, lasting happiness.
Now I cannot comment about you, but I do know that I have tracked through this verse. I have looked for happiness, for good times, in all these wrong places. And I won’t lie, there were times when I had great fun, huge adrenaline rushes, but at the end of it all, I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was more than just a little miserable. The reason is because I ended up with all this junk in my soul, with so much disorder and trash. I ended up with what you always end up with when you walk this path: the residuals of shame, fear, guilt, and all the things that just erode any sense of deep, internal happiness in life.
God tells us plainly that happiness is not found in those places. Don’t look for happiness in those places because you will never find it there.