A. In our hectic world of suicide, depression, divorce, bitterness & hatred -- happiness, joy & contentment are precious commodities indeed -- they are constantly being sought after.
1. So many advertisements appeal to our natural desire to be happy -- promising joy & contentment if we will only try their product (s).
2. But look around you, the majority of people have never found true & lasting happiness!
3. As a result, some people have become cynical about the elusive state of happiness -- denying that such even exists.
a. Is there such a thing as true happiness?
b. Yes -- happiness is a reality & it can be ours.
c. Not only can Christians be happy, but
B. God expects & commands that his people be happy:
Rom. 14:17: "For the kingdom of God is not meat & drink; but righteousness, & peace, & joy in the Holy Ghost."
Phil. 3:1: "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe."
Phil. 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: & again I say, rejoice."
I Thess. 5:16: "Rejoice evermore."
I Peter 4:13: "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
2. Paul rejoiced & was full of happiness even in less than pleasant circumstances. II Cor. 6:10: "As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, & yet possessing all things."
II Cor. 7:4: "Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation."
II Cor. 12:10: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
3. Many other passages could be cited, but these are sufficient to show that of all people, we as Christians should be joyful & happy.
C. I think we can all agree (based on these passages) that God expects His children to be happy -- but the question remains: "How?"
1. Happiness is not something that we stumble on by accident.
2. Happiness cannot be bought, sold or traded (regardless of the many sales pitches to the contrary).
3. Fortunately, happiness is not a commodity afforded only the rich or affluent.
4. Happiness is a state of mind within everyone's grasp!
5. Many books have been written; all claiming to contain the formula for happiness & contentment.
a. But the very best advice to be found on the subject was written years ago & is found in God's Word -- the Bible.
D. In the short time that we have together, I want us to notice some of God's Rules For Happy Living.
I. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, NOT YOUR TROUBLES:A. Other people don't need your troubles, they have enough of their own.
B. God has promised to bless His children abundantly.
Matt. 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, & his righteousness; & all these things shall be added unto you."
Mal. 3:10: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, & prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, & pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
1. We live in the richest & greatest nation in the world.
2. Even the poorest American is rich in comparison to the rest of the world.
C. Sure you have your problems -- we all do -- but let's face it, our blessings far outweigh our burdens.
1. We need to practice the words of the song: "Count Your Many Blessings."
2. If we will count our blessings, we will
be happier & more thankful to our Heavenly Father.
II. LIVE LIFE ONE DAY AT A TIME:A. We can conquer any problem or sin if we will only learn to live life one day at a time!
1. Most of our fears for tomorrow never materialize.
2. We often miss the roses around our feet, because we are looking for thorns down the path.
B. If people would only learn to live one day at a time, there would be fewer ulcers, & fewer nervous breakdowns.
C. We have no assurance of living till tomorrow -- so why not take it as it comes -- one day at a time?
Jas. 4:13-15: "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, & continue there a year, & buy & sell, & get gain: (14) Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (15) For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, & do this, or that."
1. If we would only learn this we would be
III. LEARN TO BE A GIVER & NOT A GETTER:A. If we are not getting out of life what we expect, it may be that we are expecting to always receive & never give.
Lk. 6:38: "Give, & it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, & shaken together, & running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
1. Some go through life always expecting to receive from others, but they never give a thing.
2. Acts 20:35: "I have shewed you
all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, & to
remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed
to give than to receive."
IV. PRAY EVERY DAY:A. Numerous scriptures could be cited:
I Thess. 5:17: "Pray without ceasing."
Phil. 4:6: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Col. 4:2: "Continue in prayer...."
B. Every Christian should reserve time during the day to thank God for his many blessings & to ask for his guidance.
1. When a husband & wife do not talk or communicate we know that something is wrong -- when God's children do not communicate with him, something is wrong!
C. Prayer is a vital ingredient in God's Recipe
V. LEARN TO COUNT:(This may sound strange at first)
A. All things have a place in life.
1. Some things are far more important than others.
2. We must learn to keep important things in first place.
B. Many things in life are important, (some more than others).
1. Our Lord stressed priorities in Matthew 6:33.
2. Spiritual matters must take priority over material things.
C. One cannot be truly happy until he learns to
count the true value of things -- & put first things first.
VI. LET NOTHING BOTHER YOU:A. So often we allow little things to bother us (often imaginary). We allow little things to rob us of happiness.
Phil. 4:7: "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts & minds through Christ Jesus."
B. We (as Christians) of all people have every
reason to be at peace with ourselves -- we have peace with God.
VII. FILL YOUR LIFE WITH GOOD:A. As God's children we should fill our minds with good thoughts & ideas.
Phil. 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, & if there be any praise, think on these things."
B. There should be no room for trashy evil thoughts
in the mind of a Christian.
VIII. LEARN TO LAUGH & LEARN TO CRY:A. It has been estimated that over 70% of all physical ills could be overcome if we could learn to laugh & cry.
B. Many think it's terrible to laugh & joke (there are times when it is inappropriate). 1. Scriptures:
Proverbs 17:22: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."
Rom. 12:15: "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, & weep with them that weep."
2. Only when we learn to laugh & cry with one
another can we truly be happy & "bear one another's burdens."
IX. LEARN TO PRACTICE THE HAPPINESS HABIT:A. Learn to smile & the world will smile with you.
Phil. 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: & again I say, rejoice."
B. As we already mentioned, we have so much to be happy about.
C. Let us show the world that Christians are truly
X. LEARN TO FEAR NOTHING OR NO ONE:A. As Christians we should crowd out our fears with faith in God.
1. We are weak, but our Father is strong.
2. Matt. 10:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul & body in hell."
Phil. 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
B. With God on our side, what, or who do we have
XI. LET GO & LET GOD TAKE OVER:A. Too many people want to run their own lives after obeying the gospel.
1. But we must let God have full control of our lives.
2. This is the only way to find true peace & happiness.
3. David spoke of this in Psalm 23.
B. Until we truly let Christ be Lord (master) of our lives, we will not, we cannot be truly happy!
C. There can only be one person in the drivers seat.
A. Yes, Happiness can be found!!!
1. Not in drugs, alcohol, or material wealth.
2. True happiness can be found only in obedience to God's will.
a. Only when we submit to God's Word can we have true peace & happiness.
B. Have you found the happiness that God intended for us to know?
1. Just remember, happiness is a habit -- a by-product of right thinking & living.
Sermon Source: Herschel Bass
Copyright 1999, may be
reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.