When money is our objective for happiness, we must live in fear of losing it, which makes us paranoid and suspicious. When fame is our aim, we become competitive lest others upstage us, which makes us envious. When power and influence drive us, we become self-serving and strong-willed, which makes us arrogant. And when possessions become our god, we become materialistic, thinking enough is never enough, which makes us greedy. All these pursuits fly in the face of contentment and joy.
Only Christ can satisfy, whether we have or don't have, whether we are known or unknown, whether we live or die. And the good news is this: Death only sweetens the pie! That alone is enough to make you laugh again.
The Living Bible states: "For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that's better yet!" (Philippians 1:21). The New Testament in Modern English, J.B. Phillips's paraphrase, reads: "For living to me means simply 'Christ,' and if I die I should merely gain more of him."
What is the sum and substance of all this? The secret of living is the same as the secret of joy: Both revolve around the centrality of Jesus Christ. In other words, the pursuit of happiness is the cultivation of a Christ-centred, Christ-controlled life.
When Christ becomes our central focus, contentment replaces our anxiety as well as our fears and insecurities.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.