Monday, November 4, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “If You’re Happy and You Know It…”



E-Vangel Newsletter
November 4, 2013
[Pastorgraphs now online at ChristSD.com]

Pastorgraphs: “If You’re Happy and You Know It…”

Way back in 2004, one of the first Pastorgraphs I wrote dealt with happiness. It came from a series of sermons I preached entitled “Life’s Disguises”.

Happiness is the most sought after quality in life, and yet the most elusive. Human nature seeks happiness in all the wrong places; such as wealth, beauty, pleasure, fame and so on.

The very act of pursuing happiness almost guarantees you will never achieve it. Like the proverbial mule duped into pulling a wagon by chasing after the carrot that constantly moves overhead, happiness appears to be just around the corner. Many people come to the end of life, realizing they have chased the carrot of happiness, never having quite reaching it; like a mirage in the desert.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

I recently came across an article that listed the Eight Foundations of Happiness necessary for genuine happiness. You might find it interesting. Rather than quoting it, I will try to restate it in my own words.

1.   A Poverty Spirit. A truly happy person is not weighed down by the care of material things. This poverty is like the person who has absolutely nothing, and has no choice but to put trust in God. The person who has many things in this life has many worries that rob life of happiness. Things have a way of getting in our way to happiness.

2.   A Caring Heart. A truly happy person cares about others more than self. When we focus on ourselves and constantly ask if we are happy, most likely we will not be happy. It is the person who cares about the suffering, sorrows and the needs of others who, strange as it may seem, finds happiness. The quickest way to quit feeling sorry for yourself is to begin caring about the real needs of others.

3.   Humility. A truly happy person is not arrogant, but knows his or her own weaknesses, ignorance, and needs. It is the foolish person who is filled with pride. Humility keeps us from many bad behaviors and pitfalls that rob life of happiness.

4.   Love of what is Right. The truly happy person has a passion for the things that are “right”. This is what the Bible calls righteousness. It is not “self” righteousness; but a deep hunger to do what is good. Doesn’t everyone want what is good? Maybe, but for most that hunger for righteousness is more alike a snack than the passion of a starving person.

5.   Empathy. The truly happy person takes the effort to see things from the eyes of the other person. It is so easy to make snap judgments of people. Until we see with their eyes, think with their thoughts, feel with their feelings will we understand that is what God in Jesus Christ has done for us. God so loved us, He sent His only Son to become flesh so He would know what it is to be human; and still took upon himself the penalty of all our sins and shortcomings. That is Love.

6.   Purity. The truly happy person operates from motives that are pure and single in purpose. This purity is the wholeness and completeness of integrity. The hypocrite is always worried he or she will be found out. Only a person who is the same genuine person at home, work and play will ever know happiness.

7.   Peace. The truly happy person has a peace that passes understanding. It is not just the absence of conflict, for all of us will experience trials in this life. This peace is possible when we have the right relationship with God, or neighbors and ourselves. Only then can we become peace-makers, who leave this world better than we found it.

8.   Persistence. The truly happy person is able to endure trials and tribulations. If being a Christian made everyone exempt from pain, sorrow, persecution and slander, then everyone would become a Christian just to avoid those pains. Jesus said those who endure persecution for righteousness sake will inherit the Kingdom of God.  

You might have figured it out by now these Eight Foundations of Happiness appeared in an article written 2,000 years ago. It was called “The Beatitudes” from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I put it into the context of happiness rather than “blessed” only because we might not understand that what Jesus called blessed is indeed the only pathway to happiness.

To the poor in spirit, the mournful, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and the longsuffering belong the happiness found only in the Kingdom of God; now and in eternity.

Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins, Pastor

From the Quote Garden:
“The greatness of the beatitudes is that they are not wistful glimpses of some future beauty; they are not even golden promises of some distant glory; they are triumphant shouts of bliss for a permanent joy that nothing in the world can ever take away.”
~ Dr. William Barclay ~
(Commentary on Matthew)

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205


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