It seems there are at least a million books that promote finding happiness, stumbling upon happiness or discovering happiness in one form or another. Many of the books, as varied as they are, approach the subject of happiness as being something you must strive to get, seek to discover or find in ways you may not have considered before. There are principles and keys and laws and techniques all designed, if you faithfully apply them, to bring you finally to that elusive happiness you are seeking. But, what if that is not how people find happiness at all? What if happiness consisted more of what not to do as opposed to a litany of procedures and processes to do? What if happiness was not so much focused on adding onto but rather letting go of something? What if happiness was more the natural state of a person before other things entered in and clogged the system? It seems there are some common pitfalls that almost all people fall prey to and as such thwart their own efforts in being happy. These pitfalls exist as riddles, confusing and complex riddles demanding they be resolved before moving forward. But, these life sucking riddles have no end point. They cannot be solved and in trying to solve them we move further and further away from that happiness our Creator intended. Once you engage in these riddles, which most people do, you become entangled and embroiled in them and it is hard to escape their sticky grasp. These riddles are the real thwarters of genuine happiness. They hinder, they stymie, they retard efforts. They take people down empty roads and further and further away from the true path. These happiness riddles work by deception with man as the unsuspecting victim. All three of these riddles work using the same tried and tested approach. These riddles are called fear, judgment and remembering the past. They are intertwined and interconnected, yet all lead nowhere. If you want to enjoy the happiness that is your birthright as a human being, you have to learn how to not fall prey to these tempting riddles.
In the world of cause and effect, you can expect a certain cause to lead to a certain result. The human mind generally functions based upon logic. But, the human mind is also limited in that it can only learn via the avenue of the five senses, absent spiritual truth. Spiritual truth has to be ascertained as opposed to fully comprehended because it exceeds the capacity of the finite human mind. When it comes to conflict or things that oppose happiness there is a right way to think and a wrong way to think. Similarly, if the starting premise is wrong, the end result will also be wrong. People are deceived because they begin with a wrong starting premise. This will become more clear as we look into each of the pervasive riddles that assault men’s minds. But, suffice it to say that the way our adversary tempts people into thinking incorrectly is by making an appeal to their ego using their human logic system. It seems when confronted with certain ideas, especially when those ideas are negative, the logical course of action is to figure out a way to solve the problem. That of course is logical. However, what is not logical is to try to solve a problem that does not actually exist but rather only has the potentiality of existing. This is a wrong starting premise. No person with their limited human logic will be able to solve a problem for which there is no solution. Instead they will spend their time and life engaging something that seeks only to steal, kill and destroy. This is happiness lost. This is engaging the riddle.
A good place to start concerns remembering the negative past. This refers to the many mistakes human beings have made in their lives. All people on earth have made these mistakes. These mistakes range from simply painful all the way to catastrophic. Every mistake, every error, every sin a person has ever committed was due to the influence of evil in some capacity. Absent evil influence sin would not exist. Some people spend their entire lives remembering some big mistake they made or someone they hurt or something they didn’t do that they should have done. And because it was wrong they often hate themselves for it and live a lifetime in bondage because of it. However, this becomes a riddle from which there is no escape. The enemy of goodness talked you into doing something bad and then seeks to hold it against you for the rest of your life. Yet whatever you did, you already did it. It’s in the books. Logically there is nothing you can do to change it nor is there any way to remedy it. It only continues to exist in your memory. The moment is gone seconds or years after it occurred. It is gone. You can certainly seek forgiveness from God for it if you haven’t already, but it is gone and over with. So logically, if the moment or moments are gone now and there is nothing you can do about it in the present, why on earth would you allow it to continue to live on in your present day mind? This is a riddle from which there is no escape. No amount of thinking or lamenting or wishing or crying can do anything to change the situation. You certainly aren’t doing God any favors by hanging on to it no more than you would continue to hold your child responsible for a mistake they made a year or twenty years ago. Thus again logically, the best way to escape the riddle, the thwarter of your happiness, is by refusing to engage in the riddle. You cannot find a solution in the riddle because a solution does not exist. The only reasonable solution is to forgive yourself and let it go forever. Do not engage the riddle.
The next riddle from which there is no escape concerns judgment, especially self-judgment. All people are born into the world with a sin-nature. This means the seeds of sin and error have been programmed into people’s bloodstreams. We all came from the factory that way. (It was not God’s original intention!) So the propensity to make mistakes is born into us. The old nature in a human being could never be cleaned up because the old nature is inherently sinful. No amount of discipline or righteous behavior or adherence to commandments can ever make the old nature clean. Yet, all of religion claims otherwise and by a series of rules and regulations tries to make the flesh bring forth spiritual fruit. Again, wrong starting premise, i.e. you can become holy and clean up that which is already inherently sinful. The Apostle Paul knew this because he said by revelation, “I know that in me, that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing.” God provided a solution to this dilemma in the life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. When Christ was crucified on the cross, God said that our old nature was crucified with him. Everything that was ever wrong with you and me was nailed to the cross. When we believed God and got born again, we receive a new nature spiritually that cannot be corrupted and cannot sin. So, stay with me now, every time you make a mistake or sin or zig when you should have zagged it happened via your old nature which God considers dead. God paid for every mistake, every looney tunes thing we ever did by the life of His son. It is paid for. It is finished! Thus, when we judge ourselves for our every error or human weakness and frailty we are engaging ourselves in something that has already been covered for us. Our old nature cannot do anything but sin. When we judge ourselves or analyze our every move, inspect our motives and find fault in everything that we do, we are simply engaging the riddle from which there is no escape. It is a wrong starting premise. We cannot make our old nature clean by doing righteous things and we cannot pay the price with our own sinful old nature. The more we look for error and flaws the more we will find. Doing so leads us nowhere. Instead we must refuse it by refusing to judge ourselves any longer. God has already judged the old nature and it is spiritually dead. Rest in what God did for you. Stop judging yourself. Do not engage the riddle.
The final riddle that thwarts happiness is the worst of them all. It is fear. Remember fear is a wrong starting premise. It is a temptation to solve a problem that does not actually exist. Fear is a riddle from which there is no escape. The more you engage the riddle, the deeper grip it gains on you. The more you, out of fear, try to find a solution, the more afraid you will become. You will suddenly find evidence that supports your fear. Engaging fear is not logical problem solving because you have already begun the discussion by accepting a starting position that isn’t true. In this life sucking riddle it always starts with doubt, progresses to worry then ends in fear. This riddle is the most dastardly because it doesn’t just waste your time and your life or steal away your happiness, but will actually bring bad things your way if you persist in it. Fear is a strong expectation that something awful is coming your direction and strong expectations often come true. Like remembering the negative past and judging yourself (your old dead nature), fear is another riddle that must be avoided. You will never defeat fear by engaging it. You defeat fear by refusing the temptation to think about it and solve it with your finite human logic. Replace fear thoughts which are not true with thoughts that are actually true. Do not engage the riddle.
The happiness you seek for your life is already there for you. You don’t have to go on a search to find it. But, in order to experience it fully, you have to avoid the riddles, the pitfalls of life that take away happiness. Stop holding on to a negative past that is long gone. Stop judging yourself for being a human. Stop letting fear and its companions put you in bondage and reduce your life down to survival instead of thriving. Much of life and living successfully is found in learning to let go rather than gaining something. Get rid of all that false weight and the burdens and live each day as a new day. The experience of happiness is always on the other side of the happiness riddles because the riddles are not true. When things get complex and confusing, error is involved somewhere. Let it all go and live the day in the freedom that God provided for you. He already solved it for you. Just get on board.
Just some good thoughts…