What Brings True Happiness?

The Bible teaches that our current attempts to find happiness are like a bride taking her wedding ring, falling in love with the ring, and ignoring the giver of the ring! Church doesn’t exist to just boost your mental health, or release more happiness hormones. It’s where we can actually encounter God, who has sent Jesus Christ, his Son to be Saviour.

We recently carried out some street interviews on Ilford High Street for our church youtube channel. We asked shoppers: “what brings true happiness?”. People gave a range of off-the-cuff answers – from “going to the gym”, to “helping others”, to “family”, and “job security”. Clearly, all those things can make us happy. Scientists have discovered the hormone Oxytocin, which they called the “love hormone”. Simple activities such as exercise, singing with others, or even touch can release it inside us and give us good feelings.

But, according to Jesus, and (if we’re honest) our own experience, there is something short-lived about these experiences of happiness. They don’t last. Jesus asked the question: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). I was particularly struck by one man’s honest answer to our question on the street. “True happiness”, he said, “I don’t know what it is”.

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