Whatever Happened To Happiness?
Little Jamie Scott was trying out for a part in a school play and his mother was concerned because he had set his heart on having a part in the event, she knew he would be very unhappy if he wasn’t chosen. On the day that parts were awarded, she went to pick him up after school and Jamie ran up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what Mum," he shouted, and then said those words that should be a lesson to us all "I've been chosen to clap and to cheer!"
Doctor Bernard Rimland, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research, conducted a poll to form a consensus on “The Golden Rule”. The poll concluded that "The happiest people are those who help others." A class of college students involved in the study, were asked to make a list of all the people they knew, and to label them as happy or not happy. Rimland found that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. He wrote that those "whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness...are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy" In His study, Rimland’s conclusion was "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (well what do you know?)
In his book, “ What Happy People Know”, Dan Baker counts twelve qualities which define happiness: love, optimism, courage, a sense of freedom, being proactive, security, health, spirituality, altruism, perspective, humor, and purpose. If folks achieve these qualities, Baker writes, "they no longer need to search for happiness-because happiness will find them."
In John 16:21&22 Jesus said,"I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man can take from you."
An Englishman, a Frenchman and a Russian were discussing happiness. "Happiness," said the Englishman, "Is when you return home tired after work and find your slippers warming by the fire and a hot cup of tea by your chair." "You English have no sense of romance," said the Frenchman. "Happiness is having dinner at a fine restaurant, as you pop the cork on a bottle of expensive wine, with a beautiful woman." "You are both wrong," said the Russian. "True happiness is when you are at home in bed and at 4 a.m. and you hear a hammering at the door and there stand the secret police, who say to you, 'Ivan Ivanovitch, you are under arrest,' and you say, 'Sorry, Ivan Ivanovitch, lives next door.”
So what is it that makes you happy?
Happiness Cannot Be Found in Getting Everything You Desire—
Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He was an unhappy camper and he wrote: "I wish I had never been born."
Happiness is not in pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of opulence and pleasure, if anyone ever did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone."
Happiness is not found in money -- Christina Onassis, daughter of the Greek billionaire, said happiness is not found in money and the greatest proof of that is our family!
Happiness is not in position and fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood is a struggle and old age is filled with regret."
Happiness is not in the glory of conquest and achievement--
Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept, because, he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
One of the wisest men who ever lived, was Solomon, and he allowed himself to be derailed by wealth and fame.
He said in Ecclesiastes 2:10 “Whatsoever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I did not withhold my heart from any enjoyment, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor… this was my portion of all I had accomplished. v11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had strived to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun”.
So where is happiness to be found? To so many folks it’s always somewhere out there…Some folks are never happy because they always see happiness as something they have yet to receive or acquire…
A very old man was asked what had robbed him of the most happiness in his long lifetime. He replied, "Things that never happened!" I suggest to you, three keys to happiness:
(1) Fret not--He loves you. John 13:1 “when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end”.
(2) Faint not--He holds you Psalm139:9 “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea v10 Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand (God’s favor) shall hold me”. (3) Fear not--He keeps you. Psalm 121:5 “The LORD is your keeper, the LORD is your shade upon your right hand (God’s favor). v6 The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. v7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil, He shall preserve your soul. v8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore”.
Let me suggest some things you can do to increase your happiness… you can do one or two of these every day and be guaranteed 365 happy days…
1. Give something away anonymously (no strings attached)
2. Do a kindness (and forget about it and never mention it)
3. Spend a few minutes with a senior citizen (their experience and wisdom is priceless insight and guidance)
4. Look intently into the face of a baby (and marvel with amazement)
5. Laugh often (it's life's lubricant to pressure and difficulty)
6. Give thanks (a thousand times a day and it will not be enough)
7. Pray (or you will lose the way)
8. Work (with vim and vigor and vision)
9. Plan as though you'll live forever (because you will)
10. Live, love and laugh as though you'll die tomorrow (because on some tomorrow, you will)
God greatly desires for you to be happy!! The Scriptures say in, Psalm 40:16 “Let those that seek the Lord, rejoice and be glad”..., Psalm 70:4 “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks”.... Zephaniah 3:14 “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, and be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
Isaiah 55:12 “For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice.
1Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice evermore. v17 Pray without ceasing. v18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
There can be no doubting that God wants us to be happy and our happiness brings Him pleasure! Christians are to be a joyful people. Abraham Lincoln observed, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Our problem comes when we pursue happiness for happiness sake…. a popular post on the internet is.. a quote by Ben Franklin, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”!!!
So, we have to then concluded that the unhappiness which so many experience in their lives, is the result of how they perceive the people, events, and circumstances which we all encounter every day in our lives.
If happiness is an end in itself, lets keep pouring down the alcohol, and popping pills, but the problem is that the pursuit of happiness in this manner never has an end in sight! No one has ever found true happiness at the bottom of a bottle….of beer or pills…
In the scriptures, “Happiness” and “blessedness” are synonymous and interchangable. Matthew chapter five is a great chapter on “happiness” or “blessedness.”
In the Sermon on the mount, Jesus said “Blessed (or happy) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God”. When Jesus says “Poor”, He is not talking about financial poverty, or about finances at all, because neither wealth nor poverty assures us of spiritual growth and blessing. Jesus is saying that the first step toward true happiness is to recognize that we need to grow spiritually, because in fact we are all first and foremost, Spiritual beings. Only those who are truly humble can recognize their need to keep growing and maturing in their spiritual walk and it is the first step in any spiritual journey.
We must not confuse true, honest humility with false humility, in which we afflict ourselves in an effort to gain praise for our self-abuse or how hard we have it. A “Martyr complex” can make you the victim instead of the overcomer. But true humility is not the false humility in which we belittle ourselves because we have poor self-esteem, and don’t like or love ourselves.
True humility is simply being honest with ourselves. We need to do an honest self-appraisal to begin this journey into true happiness. . We must start with the fact that any and everything we have is from God.
Jesus then said “Blessed (or happy) are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.
This second step in spiritual development and true happiness is to feel true remorse for what we’ve done wrong. This is what repentance is, we are remorseful about the negative way we have effected others and ourselves because of our carnality. We will not advance, mature, and move ahead spiritually without this heartfelt remorse.
Next Jesus said “Blessed (or happy) are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”….. Meekness should not be confused with weakness. Meekness is a quite, unimposing strength. To be meek is to be strong. When we are meek, we can afford to lose face and lose arguments, even have our reputation smeared, without losing our equilibrium. When we are meek, we can listen to others without insisting they hear us first.
To be meek means not being quick to judge or criticize others, because we give them the benefit of the doubt. Meekness submits to authority, but is willing to address areas of error and wrong in a right spirit. Meekness causes wives and husbands to submit to one another in love as Christ loves the Church and gives Himself for it.
Meekness honors and appreciates the qualities of those around them. Meekness avoids arguments, and strives for peace. Meekness always has the good of the group at heart. Meekness does not retaliate or hold grudges, but forgives and restores.
Next Jesus says… “Blessed (or happy) are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be completely satisfied”.
This step toward true happiness is to ask God’s guidance for our life’s mission. Righteousness, is a deep sense and hunger, for doing what is right before God and man. It is to seek for justice and goodness in the world without judging and condemning everyone in it.
The hunger and thirst that is spoken of here, is not satisfied by making a trip to the very mountain where Jesus spoke these words, but to experience what they must have experienced as God in the flesh, spoke it and the power of its truth settled down within them. We hunger and thirst for that!
It is the constant rememberance that you were made for another world, that you were made as the habitation of God.
Next Jesus said, “Blessed (or happy) are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”.
Happiness is sharing love and kindness and genuine concern for others, for it will always come back to you. We get back what we send out and we receive what we give out.
Mercy is the character of God reflected through us. Mercy is greatly missing from our culture today. When we are wronged by someone else, even for the slightest offense, we take them to court or rip them apart on the social media. We protect our so-called rights as an alternative to being perceived as weak. But mercy is far from weakness, it is the strength to rise above what is done to you, and respond in the knowledge that you are loved, accepted and forgiven by God.
Jesus said, “Blessed (or happy) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.
The Greek word for “pure” in is “katharos”. It means to be “clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.” The word refers specifically to that which is purified by fire or by pruning.
For a vine to produce fruit, it must be pruned. Those who are truly “pure,” then, are those who have been declared innocent because of the work of Jesus, who sanctifies them by His refining fire and His pruning work by the word and the Spirit.
A pure heart has no hypocrisy, no guile, no hidden motives. The pure heart is known by transparency, compassion and an uncompromising desire to please God in all things. What you see is what you get! It is more than an external purity of behavior; it is an internal purity of Soul and Spirit which is acted out in life.
Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Next Jesus said, “Blessed (or happy) are the peace makers, for they shall be called the sons of God”.
Those who bring reconciliation to broken relationships, broken lives, and broken systems, are carrying on the work of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. God delights in those who reconcile others to Himself—He says “beautiful” are the feet of those who bring the gospel of peace. Do you have beautiful feet?
What has masqueraded as worldly peace is merely a temporary lull in chaos, war and strife. True peace is found only in a restored relationship with God. Those who know Christ, are the ambassadors for peace and have been anointed with a much needed ministry of reconciliation!
Next Jesus says, “Blessed (or happy) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed (or happy) and to be envied–-are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on my account. Be glad and supremely joyful (let joy rule and reign in your heart), for your reward is great”. The beatitudes are the North Star to Happiness. They allow us to know that no matter what the situation, God can turn it around and turn it into a blessing….
What’s awesome is that God will find a way in every situation, to get His blessing to you and upon you. He guarantees it! AMEN, THE BEATITUDES ARE ALL ABOUT HAVING THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE CONSERNING HAPPINESS IN OUR DAILY LIVING !!! To know that every day of our lives, WE ARE BLESSED! The sermon on the mount is designed to position us to always be in place for the blessing, because it is ours to claim!
Charles Spurgeon said, “Happiness is being satisfied with what we have as well as with what we don’t have.”
We are told in Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness (desiring what you don’t have) and be content with such things as you have.”
Much unhappiness in people is their perception that the grass is always greener, somewhere other than where you are standing.
I woke up on Thursday morning with this statement ringing in my Spirit… Put pressure on the problem until it proclaims God’s purpose… Put demands on the difficulty until it declares God’s design and desire…
A surfer has learned to harness and to ride upon the very thing that has the power to overwhelm and crush him….He has learned to put a demand upon the wave and use it’s force to propel him forward…
Someone has suggested that Success is getting what you want; happiness is harnessing and enjoying what you actually get.
The angels did not bring the shepherds six-figure contracts for being part of one of the greatest story ever told. They brought the real thing, “good tidings of great joy”…
We Will Never Be Happy Seeking to Be Someone Other Than Who We Are…. there will always be someone, taller, thinner, better dressed, wealthier, better looking, with better personality, more likable, more interesting, with better hair, or better position, a better car, better home, and better family…on and on, infinitum… and ad-nauseum !!!
A guy went to the psychiatrist, and he says "man, You're crazy." The man tells him he wants a second opinion. He says, "Okay, you're ugly too!" (not every critic is your enemy and not every cheer leader is your friend) Someone said "Getting a tattoo means you're capable of making a decision that you'll regret for the rest of your life. How many guys have tattooed “Mary”, in big letters on their arm, only to end up marrying “Susie”!!! That’ll be a hard woman to live with!
So, be careful who you let advise you and who you let influence you…. I don’t care if they’re great friends or family…when they come into your space, their negativity can undo the prophetic destiny which God has for you….
Remember, that Destiny is not directional, but it is dimensional… Jesus said “you are in the world but not of the world”…
If unbelieving, negative folks could keep Jesus from doing not many things in their city, then they can stop you from getting to where you are going also.
In Mark 5:40 when the ruler of the synagogue entreated Jesus to come and pray for his daughter, who died while they were on their way… when Jesus arrived the first thing He did was put everyone out of the house, because of their negativity. Then He raised the child from the dead! Sometimes you have to just get away from the negative and the unbelieving, if you are ever going to arrive at your promise!
We love in others what we feel we lack in ourselves, and we would often like to be everything but what we are…The reality is that we will never be happy unless we are able to accept who God made us.
You can’t be who you used to be and who you’re going to be at the same time! So be the best You that you can be, because everyone else is already taken!
Israel, like us, had a habit of rehearsing her past. Israel had a habit of falling back into old habits, or who they used to be. They would backslide, God would spank them, then they would come back to God.. Backslide….Spanking…. Return to God.. This cycle is repeated over and over, again and again in the Old Testament. They kept stumbling over their past. Israel would never be able to occupy their God ordained future if the cycle of the past continued like revolving doors.
Every one of us has a past that affects us at some level. Like Israel, some of us have had a hard time in our past. We’ve all had failures. Some form of abuse. There have been broken relationships and hurts. We’ve all experienced past sins and transgressions.
But the past has an expiration date, and it needs to be removed from the display case of your life…it doesn’t even belong on your clearance rack…it’s not who you are anymore…you’re a new creature in Christ and your past has expired!!!
Psalms 139:13 “For You have possessed my reins (my inner thoughts and volition), You have covered me in my mother's womb. v14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. v15 My substance was not hidden from You, when I was fashioned in secret, and curiously wrought in the earth. v16 Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect, and in Your book, all my members were written, which in Your time were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them. v17 How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
THAT’S A GREAT DISCRIPTION OF CONTENTMENT!!
Basically, there are three kinds of people in the world–-the “wills,” the “won’ts,” and the “can’ts.”
This first kind are the ones who accomplish everything, the second kind are the ones who oppose everything, and the third kind are the ones who fail at everything, because they believe they will fail at everything.
Happiness Will Not Be Found Somewhere Else—the foolish man is always seeking happiness in the distance… the wise man chooses to grow it wherever he is at.
A certain city, hired a security guard to watch the main gate. One day someone came to the gate and asked, “What kind of town is this?” The gatekeeper replied, “What kind of town did you come from?” The stranger’s report was one of dissatisfaction, disharmony, and disgust. The gatekeeper replied: “You will find that this town will be the same as the one you left.” The man left and went on to somewhere else.
The next day, another man came and inquired of the little town. The
gatekeeper again asked, “What kind of town did you come from? The stranger gave a glowing report of his former hometown, speaking of the love, the sharing, and the goodwill which was shown by its citizens. To this the gatekeeper replied, “Come on in! This place will be just right for you, it’s the same as the town which you have journeyed from!”
Moses found out the same thing the security guard discovered…. When he arrived to deliver the Hebrews from the terrible persecution and oppressive bondage at the hands of the Egyptians, they were delighted to go and made joyful preparation to depart that dark land of misfortune.
Once on their way and the hardships associated with the new challenge of the wilderness crossing began to appear, they began to long for the
garlic, melons, leeks, onions and cucumbers of Egypt. If they could just get back to Egypt, they would be happy.
God gave them water from a rock, manna from heaven, and quail till they couldn’t eat anymore, and still they murmured and complained every step of the way. Finally, God showed them the land was truly a land flowing with milk and honey, a land of rivers and streams, orchards and vineyards, a land with plenty that was beyond imagination. But all they could see were the giants and enemies in the land.
Israel could not be happy anywhere, until they had God at the center of their hearts. I love the words of Caleb in response to the fear and doubt of the majority–-
Numbers 13:30 “We are well able to go in and possess the land”. The fearful, the doubtful and the negative will never be happy no matter where they go until their perspective changes, by putting God at their center.
Usually, when we speak of “having fun,” we know that we are talking about something that won’t last. What we mean is that we can let go and be irresponsible for a little while because we know we will have to get back to our responsibilities again before long. We can drop our inhibitions and limitations at least for a moment…
But the “joy” or happiness the Lord wants to give us is long-term, I mean really long-term. The Lord deals in things that are infinite and eternal” The happiness He wants to give will outlast our enemies, our adversities, our problems and this world!
Things change, people change, places change, friends change, careers change, economies change, BUT GOD NEVER CHANGES!!
The happiness that comes from the Lord is sustainable happiness but it is self-sustaining in and of itself. We do not often put these two words together, “sustainable” and “happiness,” but that is exactly where they belong and that’s together….. And we miss it because it is so simple.
Luke 6:38 gives it to us in a single word….“Give, and it will given unto you—good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing, it will be poured into your lap, for the measure you give will be the measure you receive in return.” This is happiness on steroids, that is highly contagious, to epidemic and viral proportions.
It is happiness that is pro-active and viral.
There is basically nothing inherently wrong with simply “getting.” If we don’t get the groceries, we won’t have health. If we don’t get housing, we won’t have shelter. If we don’t get directions, we will get very lost. Our theology says very clearly that we need to take care of ourselves, if we are to be of any use to each other. It is a question of priorities.
We have things backward if we live in order to eat, or make money, or get a promotion. It’s about working together on something we believe is worth doing. It’s about doing it simply because we want to do something worthwhile and beneficial to others. It would be nice to be thanked, but the experience will not be lessened if no one thanks you.
In Romans 13:10 When Paul said that “love is the fulfilling of the law”, he was saying that all the commandments could be summed up in a single word: “Love With a Love That Is Pro-active.” When we give others the gift of joy and happiness, we are creating a cycle of sustainable and endless happiness.
1. God highly desires that we are happy and filled with joy
Happiness: A State of Mind, and an Attitude of Heart
To Build a Happy Life, we need to grow our faith in God.
Happiness is another way of saying that we trust in God,
When God is our source of happiness, it is eternal and sustainable.
Our fore-fathers understood these principles and included in the Declaration of Independence, those memorial words…”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —— The Declaration specifically mentions three rights which human beings possess by birth as being unalienable, or those rights, which God has established and instituted to every person who has ever been or who ever will be born.
The term “unalienable” was taken from William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. It says “These rights are not transferable, and cannot be taken away except by the person themselves. They are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No one may rightfully deny us these things. Nor, since they are "unalienable," we are not required rightfully to surrender them, except by our own choice or decision.
You forfeit your happiness, when you keep living like you used to be, instead of living like who you are in Christ and who you’re going to be….
We say thank you to the past as we wave good-by and we’re thankful for all the lessons, but we’ve learned a lot and we’re ready now for the future!
What is it that has caused you to surrender your happiness….Your God ordained “unalienable” happiness???
Someone once asked Wayne Gretsky, the great hockey player, how he managed to become the best goal-scorer in the history of the game. He simply replied, "While everyone else is chasing the puck, I go where the puck is going to be."
Stop living like you used to be, and start moving into who you are in Christ and who you’re going to be….
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, v14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
When I look through the eyeglasses of the perfect word of God, I can see the future and it looks GREAT!
The God of love has an unfolding plan of LOVE for me. I can live without fear --being certain of this LOVE. I am a brand new creation in Christ.
I am not who I used to be! Thank the Lord. I am destined to spend eternity with God. My eternity is NOW. I have already been delivered from all the powers of darkness. Christ died for a total forgiveness of my past and present sins.
Psalm 128:1 “Blessed (or happy) is every one that fears…(gives reverent honor and worship unto) the LORD; that walks in His ways. v2 For they shalt eat the labor of their hands. Happy shall they be, and it shall be well with them”.
The word “well” means, good, beautiful, best, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, highly favored, happy, loving pleasing, prosperous, sweet, gracious, joyful, whole and glorious! Hallelujah!!