Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days . . . . Turn from evil and do good. Psalm 34:12,14
Often we hear that happiness comes from doing things our own way. That, however, is not true. That philosophy leads only to emptiness, anxiety, and heartache.
Poet W. H. Auden observed people as they attempted to find an escape in pleasures. He wrote of such people: “Lost in a haunted wood, / Children afraid of the night / Who have never been happy or good.”
The psalmist David sings of the remedy for our fears and unhappiness. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). Happiness is doing things God’s way, a fact that can be verified every day. “Those who look to him are radiant,” writes David (v. 5). Just try it and you’ll see. That’s what he means when he says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (v. 8).
We say, “Seeing is believing.” That’s how we know things in this world. Show me proof and I’ll believe it. God puts it the other way around. Believing is seeing. “Taste and then you will see.”
Take the Lord at His word. Do the very next thing He is asking you to do and you will see. He will give you grace to do the right thing and more: He will give you Himself—the only source of goodness—and with it, enduring happiness.
Lord, sometimes we must simply pray: “I believe. Help my unbelief.” Help us trust You by doing what You have given us to do today.
Happiness is doing the right thing.
In Psalm 34:14, David calls us to “turn from evil and do good.” What is good? Micah 6:8 says God has shown us what is good: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Yet in another psalm, David says, “There is no one who does good” (14:1–3)! So how is good possible? David provides a clue in still another psalm, “Trust in the Lord and do good” (37:3). Doing good is tied to trust in God. In the New Testament we see over and over again that doing good is dependent on a relationship with God through Jesus. Jesus equips us to do good and then produces good in us through the Spirit (Hebrews 13:20–21; Galatians 5:16–25).
What good is God calling you to do in His strength?