Are You A Happy Christian?
Today I have a personal question to ask. Are you a happy person? Would you consider yourself to be happy and joy filled person more than 90 percent of the time? Here’s a good test of this, if I were to ask others, maybe family members or those closest would they say that you are a happy person? What would they say about how joy filled you are?
Well you may be thinking, ‘Well I’m a happy Christian most of the time; that is when I’m not rushing around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Or, when I’m not upset with my husband or my wife or my kids or the people I work with, or when I’m not feeling angry at those crazy drivers out there. Or, when I’m not having a personal pity party, or when someone purposely hurts my feelings.
So how much time does that leave you to be really happy and joy filled?
Do you realize that one of the very reasons why Jesus came into this world and died for you on the cross of Calvary is because the Heavenly Father and Jesus Himself wanted you to be happy and full of joy?
In Philippians 4 the Apostle Paul wrote,
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always (always). I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When I read verses like this I can’t help but believe that Paul learned the secret of being truly happy. If you know anything about Paul’s life as a Christian it was anything but easy. Later in verses 12 and 13 he writes,
“12 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(happy) in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul joy and strength was totally rooted in knowing and believing in Jesus. His happiness depended less on waiting for others to make him happy, or for situations to make him happy, or events to make him truly happy because things may not happen the way you want them to happen and people will let you down. Rather his inner peace and joy was rooted and grounded in someone who would never let him down; Jesus and all that He promised those who love and follow Him.
In Galatians 5:22 Paul wrote that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” I think happiness and joy is one of the evidences of our spiritual conversion in Christ.
So what’s the problem? Why are so many of us so unhappy?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Centuries before Lincoln, the Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius said, “No man is happy who does not think himself so.” The English journalist Roger L ‘Estrange said it best when he said, “It is not the place, nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.” Solomon wrote “As a Man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
So it’s all in our head, but all too often we are guilty of thinking wrong or what I call ‘stinkin thinkin’. To often we think we will be happier if we get what we want, or run from where we are to some place else, or if we try to look like or be someone different than who we are.
Usually when we get the things that we want or crave, we are happy for a short time but it’s never enough and we find our self looking to get something else. And if we run away from our problems thinking things are going to be better some place else, that new found happiness is short lived. Why? Because we cannot escape our self and our own negative attitudes.
Jesus said that He came that we may have life and have it to the full (or more abundantly). And so if you don’t accept Jesus and what He has provided whether you be a Christian or not you are going to find an empty hole in you spirit and soul. Faith in Jesus and what is promise to us because of what He did for us is the key to unlocking that happiness and joy that our soul craves.
It must make God sad when we don’t take advantage of the great blessings and happiness and peace He has made available to us.
In the Parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:15-24) we read that a certain man goes out of his way to prepare this great party and feast at much expense to himself and then invites his friends and neighbors to come and enjoy this feast with him. My wife and I use to entertain more and we use to have big picnics during the summer and we’d invite as many friends and relatives that would come. We enjoyed entertaining people in this manner and we wanted to show them a good time and feed them some good food. Well as the story goes no one he initially invited wanted to go to this guy’s feast. They all came up with various excuses as to what they could not attend.
When his servants reported this to him we read that he was upset. I can understand. He was probably more hurt especially since he went through all that trouble and expense to show these people a good time but they chose to do something different. I would be hurt a little if my wife and I put on this big picnic and bought all kind of great food and only s few we invited showed up.
Well as the story goes the man sent out his servants to find any and everyone they could find, even if he did not know then, to come to his feast.
Now I believe that this parable is letting us know how God feels when we don’t take advantage of the great blessings He has provided us with. He has provided us with so many blessings. He offers us abundant life, joy, peace of mind, an inheritance equal to that of His Son Jesus, yet many Christians seem oblivious or forget those blessings and promises. And just like the man in the story was disappointed, I can’t help but believe God is disappointed when we when He see us miserable and sad, and depressed and hears us whining and complaining, even coming up with all kinds of excuses as to why we don’t take advantage of what He wants to give us.
Just as a reminder I want to share with you some of those things which He has provided you and me with.
2 Peter 1:3-4
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
In other words, because of His glory and excellence, and love for us, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share in His divine nature and that will help you escape the corruption of this world. (When you put on Christ you put on God!
Romans 6:23 says
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That’s a pretty awesome promise!
In John 14:15-19 Jesus said,
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
Jesus told us that He would send His Spirit into Christians and he Spirit will help us, lead us into truth, teach us, convict us when we mess up, and would be with us forever. In Romans 8:26-27 Paul told us that the Spirit also helps us to pray.
In Philippians 4:7 we are told that if we pray the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
In Romans 8:35 we are told that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we are told that God won’t let me be tried or tempted beyond what I can endure.
And that in Romans 8:28 All things work together for my good.
In 2 Corinthians 9:8 we are told that God is able to make all grace abound to me and you, so all our needs will be met. We are in God’s favor!
We are promised an awesome inheritance in Ephesians 1:14 Col. 1:12
In Ephesians 3:12 we are also told that we can approach God with freedom and confidence.
In Hebrews 2:18 we are told that Jesus will help me if I’m tempted.
In James 1:5 James tells us that if we ask for wisdom from God, He will give it to us.
James also told us that If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. James 4:8
John said that God will continue to forgive and cleanses us of new sin, if we confess those sins to Him. 1John 1:9
John also wrote that When Jesus re-appears, we will be made like Him. 1 John 3:2
Peter wrote that A new heaven and earth await you and me, which is called the ‘home of righteousness’. 2 Peter 3:13
God has also given you and me eternal life as a Christian. 1 John 5:11
These are just a few of the many promises given to those of us who are Christians. So what it comes down to is you have a choice. You can choose to be happy, feel good and rejoice because of who you are in Christ, because you are God’s sons and daughters, because has set heavenly glory before you and want to richly bless you in your daily life, or you can choose to be miserable, sad, angry, depressed or filled with self pity always complaining about every little thing. The choice is yours. (As a man thinketh …) One way leads to that abundant life God sent His son to give you.
The other is a sad and unhappy way of life with may occasional good moments.
The key is what you believe; what and who you have faith in.
Make a decision everyday when you get up to rejoice in the Lord and what He has provided and called us to. When you wake up in the morning, have a meeting with yourself. Make a decision to be a more positive happy person for that day and ask God to help you. It may be hard the first few days, but as you keep making a decision each day and ask for God’s help you will become a happier person.
Also remember and acknowledge and thank God for His love and many promise He has made to bless you. Think about these things throughout the day and your life will. And one day you will be able to say like Paul,
“ 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
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