Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved


Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (PhIlemon 1:7)

In Philemon 1:7, the great apostle Paul has received and retained the inner happiness of spiritual maturity. In addition to this happiness, he also enjoys the happiness that overflows from his fellowship relationship with other spiritually mature Christians. Specifically, in Philemon 1:7, he is referring to his dear friend and fellow laborer in the Lord, Philemon. This passage relates to us the Doctrine of Contributory Happiness. Contributory Happiness is received from contact with other Christians who are spiritually mature and, therefore, have received and retained inner happiness. Another wonderful verse is Philippians 4:4 which commands us to rejoice in the Lord at all times! The verb to "rejoice" in the original Greek means to possess inner happiness. It is repeated in this verse to give emphasis to the importance of growing up spiritually and possessing a share in the happiness of God.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Synonyms for Happiness

Happiness is defined as a state of well-being. Therefore, in our English language, happiness is tantamount to welfare and prosperity. Happiness is the enjoyment of and the pleasure in one's status in life, circumstances of life, and relationships of life. Felicity is a very beautiful and interesting Old English word. It connotes great happiness. The English word beatitude connotes supreme or maximum felicity. So we have happiness, felicity and beatitude denoting in our English language that there are degrees of happiness.

Blessedness, however, refers to happiness related to God and His Plan. Blessed or blessedness occurs many times in the Scripture. We must remember what is meant by the words blessed or blessedness, happy, or happiness in the plural. The plural use of the noun denotes a happiness spectrum which can run from tranquility to great emotional response. Therefore, happiness becomes a state or quality of being. In other words, the quality of being happy from the standpoint of inner happiness.

Happiness, in its fullest meaning, is the utmost pleasure we are capable of enjoying in any given situation. Because we are referring to inner happiness, it can be a situation of prosperity or suffering. Remember, receiving and retaining inner happiness is something being possessed within our souls, and is not conditioned by any overt situation or circumstance. To generalize, happiness as defined in our English language, denotes welfare, comfort, security, and our overall enjoyment of life. Happiness is also an awareness that one's status is very satisfactory, is in a favorable condition, and in advantageous circumstances.

We have seen eight examples of the way happiness is used in the English language. However, this does not begin to explain all that happiness is or can be or should be from the Biblical teaching on the subject.

Happiness and Relationships

Happiness and its relationship to blessing is seen in Psalm 128:1-4.

A song of ascents. Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. (Psalm 128:1-4)

Happiness and its relationship to suffering is seen in 1 Peter 3:14.

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." (1 Peter 3:14)

Happiness and its relationship to Bible doctrine is seen in Proverbs 3:13.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, (Proverbs 3:13)

Happiness and its relationship to grace function is evident in Proverbs 14:21.

He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. (Proverbs 14:21)

Happiness and its relationship to spiritual maturity is shown in Psalm 146:5, Proverbs 16:20, and Proverbs 28:14.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, (Psalm 146:5)

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD. (Proverbs 16:20)

Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. (Proverbs 28:14)

Happiness and its relationship to a clear conscience is seen in Romans 14:22.

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. (Romans 14:22)

Happiness and its relationship to the Laws of Divine Establishment is found in Proverbs 29:18.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18)

Happiness and its relationship to complete military victory is seen in Psalm 137:8-9.

O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us--he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. (Psalm 137:8-9)

Happiness and its relationship to national blessing is seen in Psalm 144:15.

Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the LORD. (Psalm 144:15)

Happiness and the Essence of God

The Essence of God is the basis for receiving and retaining great inner happiness in life. If we are ever going to possess any happiness that is worthwhile, it must be linked to who and what God is. God is perfect and His character is perfect. Therefore, perfect character possesses perfect happiness. God is eternal and His happiness is eternal. God is immutable (unchangeable), therefore, His happiness is immutable. God can never change. God cannot change from happiness to unhappiness. You can, I can, but God cannot!

God is perfect righteousness. His happiness is related to the fact that He is absolutely correct and morally perfect. We must realize that God can never be wrong and never will be wrong. This means God always knows exactly what He is doing. God is perfect justice. Therefore, His happiness is always related to His unchanging fairness. God has never been unfair! It is impossible for God to be unfair! His happiness is related to the fact that He is never unfair. God is love. His happiness is related to His love. This happiness is related to both divine unconditional love and divine personal love.

God is omnipotent. He has the eternal ability to be happy. He has the ability to share His happiness, but always on the principle of grace. The principle of grace simply states that everything depends upon who and what God is. Nothing depends on who and what man is!

God is omniscient. His perfect infinite genius makes Him happy. He has found a way to share this inner happiness with mankind. Sometimes, intelligent people are not always happy because they understand too much, know too much, or anticipate too much. They can see too far ahead of ignorant people. We've all heard the expression, "fat, dumb, and happy." Dumb and happy is right! Ignorant people do not know or care about what is going to happen tomorrow. The point is, it is much more difficult for an intelligent individual to be happy than it is for an ignorant person to be happy. God always has and always will possess perfect "smarts." God has always been happy and there will never be a time when he will be unhappy.

God is sovereignty. He made a decision to share His happiness with believers in time. For example, in Psalm 43:3, David is dancing with tremendous emotion. David's dancing is related to the fact that God has perfect happiness and shares it.

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. (Psalm 43:3)

Happiness is Based on the Plan of God

Because of God’s perfect and eternal happiness, He desires to share this happiness with man. However, this applies only to believers! In eternity past, God found a way to do this through grace without compromising His Essence. Through His divine plan, God found a way to give us His happiness without losing His own happiness. There is absolutely no compromise of God's holiness when He gives us His happiness according to Psalm 97:12 and Zechariah 10:7.

Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name. (Psalm 97:12)

The Ephraimites will become like mighty men, and their hearts will be glad as with wine. Their children will see it and be joyful; their hearts will rejoice in the LORD. (Zechariah 10:7)

The entrance into God's plan is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the beginning of grace function within the plan of God for believers as seen in Psalm 9:14 and Psalm 51:12.

that I may declare your praises in the gates of the Daughter of Zion and there rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 9:14)

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)

There was great happiness evidenced at the dedication of the Second Temple according to Nehemiah 12:43.

And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away. (Nehemiah 12:43)

Happiness is Based on Grace

Since happiness is based on the grace of God, it is accomplished through the intake, metabolization. and obedience to Bible truth according to Psalm 31:7, Psalm 32:10-11, and Psalm 33:4-5.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. (Psalm 31:7)

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD'S unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalm 32:10-11)

For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:4-5)

However, this inner happiness or sharing the happiness of God must have a starting point. The starting point is entrance into God's plan or the appropriation of eternal salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Being saved does not mean automatic or instant happiness. Just because you are saved does not mean you are guaranteed happiness! Inner happiness, or God's happiness, is still a potential to the Christian and depends upon his spiritual growth through the daily intake and obedience to Bible truth. The first taste of inner happiness comes from the filling of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22, Romans 14:17, and 1 Thessalonians 1:6.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Galatians 5:22)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 14:17)

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

The experience of inner happiness is limited by the capacity developed from metabolizing and applying Bible truth from our positive volition. If you have Bible doctrine metabolized in your soul, you have capacity for great happiness. As a new believer, you lack this capacity and only have the filling of the Spirit without any Bible teaching in your soul as yet. In order to have great inner happiness on a daily basis regardless of any circumstance in life, we must possess maximum doctrine metabolized in our soul. This provides the spiritual dynamic to remain Spirit-filled a maximum amount of the time on a daily basis.

Once you have achieved spiritual maturity through the maximum intake and application of God's Word, the Lord then shares His own happiness with you on a maximum basis as seen in John 17:13, John 17:17, and 1 John 1:4.

"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. (John 17:13)

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)

We write this to make our joy complete. (1 John 1:4)

Happiness Is the Status of the Mature Believer

Happiness is the status of the mature believer based on consistent intake, metabolization, and application of the Word of God to life and circumstances. This consistent spiritual momentum leads to the understanding of God’s plan and the resulting sharing of His very own happiness. This is seen in Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 30:5,11, Philippians 4:4, and 1 Peter 1:8.

Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, (Psalm 30:11)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, (1 Peter 1:8)

Happiness and its Relationship to Blessing

The word blessing is generally found in the plural in the Scripture. The reason is for both temporal and spiritual blessing. There is a great spectrum of happiness. Inner happiness manifests itself in many different ways and in different circumstances.

Protection From Disillusionment

Inner happiness protects the Christian from being disillusioned. There are three basic areas of disillusionment in life. They are; 1) disillusionment from the circumstances of life as in Philippians 4:11-12, 2) disillusionment from the details of life per Hebrews 13:5-6, and 3) disillusionment from people as in Hebrews 12:1-2.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:11-12)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Capacity for Love

Inner happiness stimulates and increases the believer’s capacity for true virtue love per 1 Peter 1:8.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, (1 Peter 1:8)

Heavenly Happiness

This is the happiness of the perfect environment and perfect conditions of heaven which will accrue to every believer. There is a special blessing and happiness in heaven for believers who matured spiritually in time and received wonderful blessings from God during their lives. Because of this, they will also receive even more wonderful rewards in heaven. These heavenly rewards are over and above the normal grace happiness of heaven which will be possessed by all believers in eternity as seen in Jude 1:24 and Ephesians 1:18.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-- (Jude 1:24)

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:18)

Millennial Happiness

There is a wonderful happiness which is a part of the perfect environment of the Millennium. This happiness does not exist today in this Devil's world. What the mature believer possesses by way of inner happiness is even greater than the perfect environment happiness of the Millennium according to Isaiah 35:1-2, Isaiah 60:4-5, Isaiah 65:18-19, and Isaiah 66:10. This same Millennial happiness is described by our Lord in the familiar beatitudes in the Gospels. This Millennial happiness comes from the perfect rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ who will be ruling under the Laws of Divine Establishment under perfect environment.

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. (Isaiah 35:1-2)

"Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. (Isaiah 60:4-5)

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. (Isaiah 65:18-19)

"Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. (Isaiah 66:10)

Human Happiness

There is a happiness which is common to all members of the human race which is distinct and totally removed from inner happiness for believers. All happiness is not related to God. Some happiness is even related to sin and evil. Happiness based upon sin and evil is evanescent (i.e., it is there for a moment and then it is gone). There are certain types of sin and the influence of evil that bring a short-lived happiness. This happiness is very temporary and usually turns around and causes great misery.

Common happiness is a legitimate happiness for both believers and unbelievers. This happiness comes from observing the Laws of Divine Establishment. This is happiness in possessing and appreciating freedom, marriage, family life, and happiness because you are not living as a criminal.

Temporary happiness emanates from the details of life and the stimulation and pleasure that people receive from them. Sometimes, this type of happiness can also emanate from sin or evil. This is a very temporary and superficial type of happiness. Temporary happiness is pleasure and stimulation of the unbeliever who has rejected the Laws of Divine Establishment and the Christian who has rejected the same while rejecting Bible doctrine. This happiness depends upon a pleasant environment, the details of life, and stimulating circumstances. This same happiness comes from having your own way.

Happiness based upon sin or evil as well as this very temporary happiness of having your own way, can produce great boredom, restlessness, frustration, and instability. All of these negative experiences in life neutralize true happiness. They vanish like a vapor trail! These types of temporary happiness also produce some of the greatest bitterness in life. Ecclesiastes 9:9 and Ecclesiastes 11:8-9 deal with this temporal happiness related to sin and evil.

Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun--all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 9:9)

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment. (Ecclesiastes 11:8-9)

Family happiness as in Proverbs 23:24-25 is the pleasure, satisfaction, and stimulation parents receive when their children turn out all right. Children can make you happy or children can make you miserable. Whichever way family happiness goes, you can still receive and retain inner happiness through functioning in accordance with the plan of God for your life through the intake of God’s Word.

The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! (Proverbs 23:24-25)

Seven Negative Principles on Happiness

  1. You cannot build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness
  2. You cannot build your happiness on the details of life.
  3. You cannot build your happiness on pleasant environment.
  4. You cannot build your happiness on loved ones.
  5. You cannot build your happiness on fame or celebrityship.
  6. You cannot build your happiness on the overthrow of establishment by violent revolution.
  7. You cannot build your happiness on lust.

Six Positive Principles on Happiness

  1. You can build your happiness on maximum metabolized doctrine in your soul. this is the only happiness that has any permanence.
  2. You can build your happiness on the daily intake and application of Bible truth to the point of spiritual maturity.
  3. Therefore, you can build your happiness on reaching maturity and receiving blessings in time. Furthermore, you will have happiness from the capacity to receive and enjoy these blessings.
  4. You can build your happiness by glorifying God in reaching and retaining the spiritual maturity status.
  5. You can build your happiness by your continued spiritual growth as a mature believer, all the way to the maximum happiness of Dying Grace. Dying Grace is maximum inner happiness with no regrets.
  6. You can build your happiness by observing the Laws of Divine Establishment.

Your Inner Happiness Overflows to Others

Philippians 2:28-29, Romans 15:32, Philemon 1:7, 1 Corinthians 16:17-18, and 2 Corinthians 7:13 demonstrate that other believers are made happy by the overflow of another believer’s inner happiness.

Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, (Philippians 2:28-29)

so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. (Romans 15:32)

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 1:7)

I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition. (1 Corinthians 16:17-18)

By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. (2 Corinthians 7:13)

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