Have you ever given any thought to the source of happiness? The ancient philosopher, Aristotle tried to answer this question. He believed the most important factor in an effort to achieve happiness is to have a good moral character: “He is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life (Nicomachean Ethics).”
Happiness is not an on-going quest for instant gratification. It is, however, the product of a disciplined life that has been focused on the practice of the virtues.
To be content, your life needs to be filled with the right content. A good example of this is seen in a contrast of Abraham and Lot. After a family feud, Abraham allowed Lot to claim the well-watered and fertile plains of Jordan as his territory. Lot turns his herds and servants in that direction, and after a brief period of time, he has “pitched his tent toward Sodom.” Genesis 13 describes this city and its inhabitants as exceedingly wicked.
The difference between these Lot and Abraham is seen in the word content. Lot’s tent (life) was full of conniving desires that led him away from the virtues of God; however, the story of Abraham was much different: His tent (life) was content as he delighted in the goodness of God.
Ask yourself a couple of questions:
- How happy am I?
- Does the content of my life help or hinder lasting contentment?
As you think about these questions, read this excerpt from Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
Is happiness an accident, or is it the result of a life well-lived?