Ask 100 people what they desire in life and the majority will say 'Happiness'.
Not a bad answer...until you ask the 2nd question
"In what or where do you find true satisfying happiness?"
You will then get a lot of different answers.
In his book 'The Sheer Joy of Living', Roland Q. Leavell wrote:
"The desire for happiness within all persons is:
as natural as breathing...
as universal as hunger....
and as worthy as worship.
Happiness can flourish in any climate....
grow in any racial soil....
be enjoyed under any economic circumstances.
This is true because 'happiness' depends on what is in the heart...
NOT upon circumstances.
Happiness is like perishable fruit in that it must be used every day....
for it can not be put in cold storage."
Christ taught us the attitudes we need for happiness....(Matt. 5: 1-16)
and that it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
So if we want happiness, we must be willing to give it away.....
with proper attitudes and actions of love.
In Philippians, Paul's theme is 'Joy' (Holy Happiness).
He said, "For me to live, is Christ and to die is gain".
Please remember that Paul had full joy (even while in prison)
when he wrote Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians.
Paul emphasized to these churches that 'joy' must be in our lives and churches....
or people will not want the Christ we represent and the good He can be for them.
The word 'Holy' is used to distinguish God-given Happiness...
as opposed to the limitations of any other kind.
1) Pessimism is an enemy to happiness.
These are actual responses by people when asked to 'define life':
Life is a joke that isn't funny.
Life is a dead-end street with no exit.
Life is the life sentence we get for the crime of being born.
Life is a disease and the only cure is death.
It is sad that the people making these statements may never know Jesus' Joy....
Thinking only of yourself -
Talking about yourself-
Using "I" as often as possible.
A person is never so empty as when 'full of self'.
A person wrapped up in 'self' makes a very small package.
Boredom is always an eventual 'fruit of selfishness'.
A poet said:
"Some men die by shrapnel and some go down in flames,
but most men perish inch by inch who play at little games.
An employer was asked, "Will Freddie be replaced?"
He replied, "No, you see Freddie did not leave any vacancy."
(Let's live so that we will leave a vacancy....and be missed!
Isn't it strange that princes and kings
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings.
and common people like you and me
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools,
a shapeless mass, a book of rules.
And each must make, e're life is flown
a stumbling block or a stepping stone.
by R. Lee Sharpe
When we arrived in Korea to serve as missionaries in 1960, there was so much devastation from the war. Over 85% of the country was almost totally destroyed and there was SO much need. In the middle of downtown Seoul was the Young Nok Presbyterian Church (Young Nok means 'Eternal Joy').
The Chung Moo Ro Baptist Church where we served is also located in downtown Seoul. While trying to help the Korean people, we found that their unquenchable 'fire of faith and love' helped us!
The strength of these people and their churches was due to 5 things....
things that need to be a big part of our lives and churches as well:
1) Steadfast faith of individual Christians.
It carried them through the war (and does to this day).
The Greek word for 'man' is 'anthropos' which means 'a being with an up-turned face'.
This they are doing and I ask you, 'Is your face (and faith) up-turned toward God?"
2) Fervency in Prayer which may begin as early as 4 a.m. before their day's work begins.
3) Devotion to the Word of God.
Long before the missionaries came in the 1880's, portions of the Bible were smuggled into Korea and bore fruit.
When the missionaries arrived, they found many Christians in Korea....due to the power of The Word.
4) Strong in the midst of persecution from other nations.
Even today, North Korea is a threat not only to South Korea, but to the rest of the world.
Christians, let us grow STRONG.....for the future may hold persecutions like we have never known!
5) Evangelistic zeal of the Christians.
Whatever their other 'callings' may be, they are unashamed evangelistic witnesses for Christ.
It is no wonder that 35% of South Korea are Christians and have sent out missionaries to many other countries in the world..
They have learned that the Holy Spirit can make 'real' in us....all that Jesus did for us.
I share all of this to show how 'Holy Happiness' can be had....
even during the worst of circumstances.
Let us look in the book of Philippians and learn how to have 'Holy Happiness'.
In Philippians 3:10: (what I call Paul's 'Gospel in a Verse')
'Experiencing Resurrection Power'
'Willing to Fellowship in His Sufferings' ....and
'Conforming to His Likeness'
In Philippians 4:
Vs. 4: Rejoicing in a position--"I am in Christ and Christ is in me".
Vs. 5: Witnessing through patience.
We want people to be patient with us....let's be patient in return.
Vs. 6: Making much of Prayer.
Vs. 7: Enjoying THE peace that passes understanding, but can be experienced.
Vs. 8: Making sure our life is pure.
Vs. 9: Obeying the principles (which are eternal....and relevant)
Vs. 11-19: Claiming the Promises, for we live by Promises....not explanations!
Attitude is 'half the battle'.
Start each day with "Good morning Lord".......instead of "Good Lord, morning!"
Holy Happiness is not dependent on your condition nor age...
but unconditional agreement with the Word of God.
Read a Proverb each day....and from the Psalms.....and go forth in the Spirit to win!
I started this paper with a quote from R.Q. Leavell.
When he was a little boy, the circus came to his town and put on a parade.
He saw the elephants, lions and clowns and got very excited.
He asked his Mom if he could go to the circus, so she gave him a quarter for the main show.
On his way to the main tent, he heard a 'barker' from a side tent, hollering about how great his show was.
R.Q. supposed that it must be the main show, so he paid his quarter.
He was very disappointed when he realized that what he thought was the MAIN show was a cheap side show and that he had missed the main event!
Make sure that you spend your life for Jesus and God's Will.....
and not the world's cheap side shows!
One who truly has 'Holy Happiness is one of La Moyne's favorite writers, Barbara Johnson (who has the wit of an Erma Bombeck).
"My husband and I lost a son in Viet Nam....
lost our 2nd son to a drunk driver.....
and our 3rd son to the homosexual community."
She almost lost her husband to a debilitating injury and she herself is now battling diabetes and cancer.
Throughout all of this, she has had such an optimistic outlook and attitude, writing many great books.
Many years ago in Beam Magazine she wrote:
"When do we really live?
When do we find fulfillment and come to see what life is really meant to be?
When we have a faith fit to live by, a self fit to live with, a work fit to live for, and someone to love and be loved.
When we learn how to use time and not just kill it.
When we want less, love more, and lend a helping hand to others.
When we are wise enough to live one day at a time...letting yesterday go and not living tomorrow until it arrives.
When we have read great books of vision and beauty....
When we know and live by The One Great Book, letting it guide and dominate our lives.
When we know how to worship, relax, forgive, pray, laugh....
how to live with God and serve Him.
Most of all, we learn how to live when we do not take life for granted......
but for gratitude."