The Secret

How do you live a happy life?  For you, what would result in happiness?

We may have a list.  If I have this.  Or if I have that.  If I’m able to accomplish this.  Or if this happens at work, or at home, or in my own life, then I’ll be happy.  We’ve probably all got our list of what we want, or want to happen, in our lives, that will make us happy.

I was thinking about that today when I read what Paul had to say in Philippians 2: 1-4.  Listen to what he shares with us:

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

happy-womanHe actually gives us the secret to happiness.  As tempting as it would be to think that our happiness will come from getting what we want, or doing what we want, our having our needs/wants met, Paul turns that on its head.

If there anything good, be of the same mind with each other.  Don’t be selfish, don’t act selfishly.  Regard others as better than you, and look to their interests first.

That sounds good, until you actually think about it.  Regard others as better than you.  I don’t (and don’t want to) do that.  I want to do what I want when I want it.  We all do, don’t we, to some extent.

And that’s what our culture tells us.  Our culture tells us that happiness comes from our stuff, from us being in charge, from us being number one.  Live your life the way that you, doing what you want, achieving what you want because it’s all about you, your life, your contentment.

Today, though, we see the secret.  We see the secret to true happiness and life.  It’s not about us.

The Gospel is so countercultural.  The Gospel says – it’s not really about you.  In fact, to find life, give it away.  To find happiness, stop worrying about it.  To really live, live for others.

And I guarantee, if we try that Gospel-life we will find happiness a lot faster than any other way.  We think in living for what we think we want, we will find that happiness we desire.  We won’t.

But when we live that Gospel-life, living for Jesus, loving others, serving, giving, we find abundant, eternal life.

Today, you were made for that abundant, Gospel-centered life.  Today, live thinking of others first.  Give it a test drive.  Try it and see.  And see if you aren’t, in the end, happy.

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How to be Happy

Question-MarkWant to be happy today?  I mean, really happy?

Have life and peace and joy and purpose?

Want to have a life that is truly worth living for?  Let me show you how.  Listen to what Paul says this morning in Philippians 2:4-8:

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Paul is talking about Jesus, and how even through He is God Himself, He humbled Himself to death, even death on the cross.  He is God.  He is the creator of everything.  He tells us in Colossians that through Jesus Christ everything that’s ever been made was made and that all things are held together through Him.

In other words, there is no bigger deal than Jesus.  Seriously. He’s the biggest deal in all the universe.  He’s it.  There’s nothing, no one  higher than Jesus.  He’s at the very top.

And so, how did the highest of the high, what did He choose to do?  He humbled Himself.  He served.  He didn’t live for His plan, but for His father’s plan.

You want to be happy today?  You want peace today?  You want to have purpose today?  How?

Follow Jesus – humble yourself.  Serve someone today.  Live for a purpose bigger than yourself.  Live for plan bigger than yourself.  Serve someone today.

That’s where happiness is found.  Not in serving yourself.  Serving someone else.  Not in living for yourself.  Living for Him.  Not in making yourself king or queen. But in making Him king of your life.

You want to be happy today?  Serve someone. Do something for someone else.  Live like that, as Jesus commanded us to do.  And in doing that, you’ll find more happiness that you can ever imagine.

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Happy, happy, Joy, Joy

Psalm 119 is one of those great Psalms that you could back to over and over again.

There is so much there for us chew over, so much there to think about and pray over.

Today, listen to the words of the Psalmist in verses 1-2

1 Happy are they whose way is blameless, *
who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Happy are they who observe his decrees *
and seek him with all their hearts!

Happy are those walk in the way of the Lord.  Each day of our lives, we have choices to make. Will we follow the will and the way of God, or will we follow our will and our way?

We think that happiness and joy will come from doing what we want and getting our way. We think that if we get what we want and how we want it, we will be happy and content.

So, we get what we want. We seek after what we want. We seek our will and our way first.

And what do we find? Emptiness.  Not joy.  Not happiness.

We we seek to live only for ourselves, we find that we do not truly find life.

Happiness, joy, life, these things only come from seeking after God.

Seeking His will. . . His way. . . . His life.

Happy are those that seek after God.

Today, we will have choices to make. Will we seek after God?  Will we seek after His way and His will? Or will we seek our stuff?  Our wants? Our desires?

Happiness and joy lies in seeking after God.

Seek Him today.  Do what is right.  Live as He wants. Find happiness.

That is His will for you – happiness and joy.

May we find it in seeking after Him.

What’s Most Important

Not everything in life is as important as we make it out to be.

There’s that little book that came out a few years ago – “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” And I believe the subtitle was “It’s all small stuff.”

Not everything in life is as important as we make it out to be.  Not everything is life or death.  Not everything is earth shatter.

Now, that’s not to say somethings are not important. They are. But, we need to keep focus on what is most important.

We get a glimpse of this in Luke’s Gospel this morning:

20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’

The 70 that were sent out that we talked about yesterday return, and man are they pumped.  They have seen so many amazing things, so many things done in Jesus’ name, so much that they had done through Him.

They were so excited and pumped they just couldn’t stand it.

And here Jesus reminds them.  Don’t be happy over this.  Be  happy you are in the book of life. Be happy that you are His.

That’s important for us to remember today.

We have no idea what today will include for us. There may be tremendous victorious.

There may be terrible defeats. We just don’t know what is to happen. We don’t know what all lies in store.

No matter high the highs or how low the lows, don’t celebrate too much, don’t mourn too much.

Remember what’s most important.

You’re His child.  He loves you.  You are His.

That’s what’s important. Tomorrow will be a new day.  If we succeed today, we may fail tomorrow.

If we fail today, we may succeed tomorrow.

But, if we are His, we can rejoice no matter what.

Because we’ve got life.  Life now, and life forever.

Today, remember what’s most important.

You’re a child of the Living God. And nothing beats that!