I recently pulled out an older Bible that I haven't used in several months to get a different version of some verses I was reading. When I opened the Bible, a few sheets of folded paper fell out. The sheets had some study/meditation questions typed up on them. I recognized them coming from a Bible study I had attended close to a year ago. The first sheet said to read and meditate on Psalm 51, followed by some questions about confession, what we are trying to gain in our lives, and how the Holy Spirit may be prompting us with the truth about what God wants to provide in our lives. Underneath it I wrote "happiness" and also "I'm content, but not very happy a lot of the time."
Wow! Those two responses really struck me! When I filled out that sheet many months ago, I had no idea that I would be choosing the word "happiness" for 2016. Neither did I know about the book "Happiness" (by Randy Alcorn) that I am currently reading. I feel the Lord had been prompting me for quite awhile to seek the happiness that only He can give.
As I continued to read in the book, Happiness, the Lord has worked through many avenues to help me see how I need to desperately seek happiness through Him!
Why Does Our Happiness Matter?
It’s understandable that people long to be happy. But, if they believe there’s no happiness in Jesus, they won’t turn to Him. Christianity is often perceived to be about tradition and morality and not happiness. Also, some have know professing Christians who go out of their way to promote misery, not gladness. Some Christians also feel morally superior to those who engage with the world and make world-condemning judgements. Because unbelievers understand the happiness in Jesus by whether they see it in His followers, we have a duty to rejoice through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Quotes from the book:
"We cannot passively wait for joy. Rather, we must take action to lay hold of joy in God. The narrower our view of God’s presence in the world – and in our daily lives – the less happiness we’ll experience."(pg.21)
"A different perspective:
God, who created all things deserves the highest place in our hearts. While we can enjoy the gifts God has given us, in their appropriate time and place, they will never be able to give us the happiness and satisfaction we find in Him."
"Even in a world filled with hardship and suffering, God's presence brings incomparable happiness to all who know Him."(pg. 33)
"God is glorified when we are happy in Him."
"Happiness in Christ is one of our most powerful evangelistic tools."(pg. 28)
God is desiring of our happiness - and in Him, being the Source of it!
Once again, I opened my Bible up to Psalm 51:1, 6, 8, 12, 15:
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” is my cry!
The Christian life that has little joy is a poor testimony to the grace of God.
This past week has been a challenge for me to be happy, in spite of the ups and downs of life. I realized what I meant when I wrote on that old Bible study sheet - about being content, but not very often happy - I was saying that I wasn't unhappy in my life as a whole, but while I'm going though the hard days, I often find myself not being a happy/joyful/grateful person. I realize that when I'm unhappy, I can bring others down, too. Happiness is a choice, a decision to remember God's goodness and salvation, rather than my own circumstances.
I pray for God's grace and that He will remind me in those times that I need to find the joy of the Lord. It is the calling of all who believe!!
I will be sharing the blessings and gifts that God gives me in my life in my next post, which will be soon. For now, I just wanted to share from my heart!!
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