God doesn’t want you to be unhappy, and he will go out of His way to assure your happiness. This is a subtle one. In my heart of hearts, I believe most of us would agree that this statement is completely ludicrous. However, we don’t act as if this is a lie. Christians are constantly looking to do what makes us happy as opposed to what pleases God.
According to part two of this series, God is sovereign and He does and allows what he pleases. Whatever happens in life, God knows and has already made plans for it as it relates to His will.
I’m sure you’re asking, what does that have to do with happiness? (I’m glad you asked!) Happiness is an emotion that expresses the pleasure and delight of free moral beings, and you know like I do that emotions are temporary. Because circumstances shape our emotions, that feeling can only last as long as the conditions remain the same.
While God orchestrates our circumstances, He does not control our emotions … WE DO! Whatever your lot in life, you choose how you feel about it. Have you ever given an unhappy child what he wanted? Even though he was so distraught that he couldn’t function without that thing, it seems that as soon as you gave it up he was on to the next one.
The key here is that God wants us to have joy. Joy is a state of being and not an emotion. The joy of the Lord is rooted in the choice to be content no matter what going on in your life. Philippians 4:4-13 teaches us 5 steps to finding true joy:
1. Always rejoice (vs.4)! In other words, find something to celebrate about, because everything is not as bad as it seems.
2. Calm down (vs.5)! You don’t aways have to fight.
3. Stop worrying (vs. 6)! This is critical … prayer is the key here. When you pray to God, the burdens of fear, doubt, and worry are lifted.
* The first 3 steps gives you lasting peace (vs. 7). Finding peace in God is the giant step toward the joy of the Lord.
4. Think positively (vs. 8-9)! Don’t dwell on things that are negative. Whatever you think about, that’s what you become (Proverbs 23:7), so keep good things on your mind.
5. Be content (vs. 11 – 13)! Since God is ultimately in control, know that where ever you find yourself, you were equipped to handle it. You don’t have to long for your circumstance to change.
God’s primary concern is His will, but we have to find joy and happiness in whatever that is for our lives. If you consistently take these steps, you will find that happiness is an easy emotional choice; because you’ll have joy.
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