Aiming for True Happiness

Beyond sensual pleasure

Denise Thong
6 min readOct 26, 2019


Source: Colton Duke,

For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.

For the concern of the flesh is hostility towards God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the spirit of God dwells in you.

Whoever does not have the spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8: 5–13)


What is true happiness? That is a question of utmost importance since most of our life choices are predicated upon the pursuit of happiness. If we cannot even put our fingers on what happiness is, it is very hard to make sound life decisions.

The Three circles

This portion of the article is pretty much a synopsis of what Fr. Robert Barron shared in his video — with some of my own inputs.

I believe that it was St. Thomas Aquinas who said that there are varying levels of happiness. Imagine three concentric circles — One enveloping the other.

In the innermost circle lies sensual pleasures which include basic needs such as shelter, food as well as things/experiences that gives delight to our five senses (e.g. Good food, beautiful music, enchanting entertainment). If this innermost circle is satisfied, one attains a certain low level of happiness. The animal side of man is satisfied.



Denise Thong

Counsellor, Writer (Christianity, Children’s short stories)