In this life we are bombarded with media, celebrities, money, success: all which we think will make us happy. What makes me happy? Sunshine, people liking me, cute clothes, when things work out according to plan, my friends, family, reading, music, doing hair; there are way too many things that make me happy. What happens when things that we had planned didn’t turn out accordingly, someone didn’t follow through with their word, car breaks down, need to be at work at 4 AM, getting sick? There are so many things that get in the way of our happiness.
What if I told you that God doesn’t always want us to be happy?
Sounds crazy right? Since that’s what we all strive for on a daily basis and if we’re not happy then something must be wrong.
That’s what I tend to think anyways. What can I change? What am I doing wrong?
I think of Paul, from the bible and then I am once again humbled. At the time he wrote Philippians 4:12-13 Paul was in Prison! He says “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
The apostle Paul seems almost larger than life because his joy knew no bounds. As you read through his letters, it seems that the greater the trial he faced, the greater his joy. His life is a living illustration of severe affliction mingled with supreme joy.
There is a difference in happiness and joy. In life we are not always going to be happy; horrible circumstances will arise for we live in a world where crap happens. But it’s what we do with our circumstance that determines our joy. God never wants a circumstance to get in the way of being joyful. To be happy because of a job promotion is great but once that is taken away then are you happy about that? Usually not.
Paul was in prison and the plans he had for himself had changed. Was he happy about that, probably not but he has learned that no matter what does happen in his life that He can be content, grateful and joyful for he knows that God never leaves no matter what. He has a promise that never fails.
If the source of your joy is anything that can be taken away then you will be robbed of your joy. The one and ONLY thing that is ever lasting and can’t be taken away is God.
In Matthew 5 this is how Jesus says we are blessed
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
NOT that you have a nice house, fancy clothes, a car, a job, but that you will be persecuted. Sounds intense.
Remember the things that actually matter! Remember that if you are not well-liked by a co-worker because you love Jesus means you are blessed! Remember to be content with nothing and that Jesus is everything!
Every day I need to be reminded of all these things. Jesus loves me because He loves me because He loves me! And He loves you a Ton and a half too!
Lets be thankful for what we have and the life we live and even more thankful that we have a God that’s never failing!