Happiness has been spoken of and defined for many many many years. The Declaration of Independence says…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Here are 10 science-based ways to be Happier
I find it interesting that even the secular culture knows that good habits lead to a happier life.
With all this focus on being happy, we should define it.
HAPPY: FEELING OR SHOWING PLEASURE OR CONTENTMENT.
A few weeks ago I was at Walmart. I had just piled a bunch of groceries in my car. I was carefully backing out of my spot when a woman darted behind me. She didn’t notice that I was backing out. I slammed on my brakes, just missing her. Startled, she looked up and met my gaze. In that moment I had a choice to make; respond with rolled-eye frustration or offer a smiling forgiveness. I smiled. She waved and said thank you. There was relief on her face. It reminded me of Proverbs 15:13
Proverbs 15:13 - A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
What does it mean to be HAPPY and LIVE THE TRULY BEAUTIFUL LIFE
Part of what makes things beautiful to us are the surrounding circumstances we find ourselves in. Have we ever been so lost in our circumstances that we haven’t been able to see any beauty in our life? SIMPLY PUT, THE ONLY REASON THAT WE ARE SO DISSATISFIED WITH OUR LIVES IS BECAUSE WE DON’T SEE THEM AS BEAUTIFUL. True beauty is actually what we are longing for. NOT SEEING OUR LIVES AS BEAUTIFUL IS HOLDING US BACK FROM THE HAPPINESS AND SATISFACTION WE ARE MEANT TO EXPERIENCE. We have a deep ache for a beyond happy life. not just happy in the general sense, but something Beyond happiness.
Life is messy and Jesus is real.
A lot of times when life is messy the problem is we get really focused on how messy it is. When our marriages are going through something toughWhen our job is a challenge when something is going wrong with our kids
There is a question that always comes up…
Doesn’t God want me to be happy?
#1 - YES! GOD WANTS US TO BE HAPPY! God has a purpose and a plan for human happiness If all we have is one life on this side of Eternity. We might as well have a happy one. The Bible speaks about God's plan for our happiness.
Psalm 144:15 - Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.
Listen to the New King James version: “Happy are the people who are in such a state;” Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!
Now let's stop for just a minute and think about this. For the people who have put their faith and trust in Jesus, for the people who are born again. if we sit here as followers of Jesus, are we happy? Sometimes we aren’t happy because our perspective is wrong.
When I was young, I thought that God was in the way of my happiness. I thought: “Be whatever you are or be happy. Be a christian or whatever religion you are or be happy.” There was so much conflict. Here is what I know, people won’t stay in unhappy circumstances very long unless they have a very good reason. People are on a happiness quest.
Our heavenly Father revealed through Jesus what is most important to him and it ties to what is most important to us. Even if we haven’t thought of it in those terms. GOD ISN’T IN THE WAY OF OUR HAPPINESS. GOD PROVIDES A WAY TO HAPPINESS. To resist God is to resist happiness.
So much of what God wants to do is to change our perspective. He wants to give us new lenses through which to see the very difficulties that we're going through. God wants to give us a fresh vision of what he is and what he's up to in the midst of all that's going on in our life. If God wants us to be happy, why do we find ourselves burned out on life? Why do we find ourselves pretty unhappy? Nowhere in the bible does it tell us to pursue happiness.
#2 - HAPPINESS IS NOT FOUND WHERE WE NORMALLY LOOK FOR IT.
When we look for happiness, we're always looking for a change of circumstance. We look for change in the external things. “I'll be happy when I get a different job”“I'll be happy when I get a better car”“I'll be happy if I get the promotion” “I'll be happy if I have kids”“I'll be happy when the kids get out of the house”
We are always trying to define it by a change in our circumstances. We're always looking on the outside to change something to make us happy. Like owning our own home. Renting is it’s own thing, when something breaks we can call the landlord and make it their problem. But when it's our home, maintenance can be like having a second full-time job. Don't get me wrong I love owning a home, but when a pipe fails it's up to me. There's no landlord to call. When something breaks in the electrical, that's on me. I’m responsible for the landscaping. I have to mow the lawn and keep up with weeds. It is an overwhelming transition.
Oftentimes we try the stuff we think is going to make us happy and come to find out that it's not as great as we thought it would be. The problem with fallen humanity is if we don’t hear what the Lord says and we don’t get God’s perspective on it, we’re always looking for happiness in the wrong places. It’s not a new problem. It is a problem that is as old as humanity.
Jeremiah 2:1313 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
What God is saying to Jeremiah here is the children of Israel have committed two sins
1. They have forsaken God the spring of living water. The very thing that will give them life. The very thing that they need for refreshment in life. They have ghosted God. Side note: Ghosted is a modern urban term that is used often. Real quick- here's what “ghosted” means: it is when someone who we've been in contact with suddenly stops responding and disappears as if they never existed.
2. The children of Israel dug their own well. Wells that can’t hold water. Empty wells. Instead of holding on to God. Knowing the Lord. Being Filled from the Lord. We take matters into our own hands when we have no skill in doing it. We are trying to put ourselves in the role of the master craftsman.
I have incredibly bad knees. Let’s say that it's time for a doctor visit. I am in the waiting room hoping and excited to see the doctor to relieve the pain. After a long wait, my plumber comes in and starts trying to examine me. Opens my mouth with pliers. Wrong tool. Wrong craftsman. Then it doesn’t stop there. He gives a diagnosis. He says “You’re just tired.” Then he says “You should try some of my wife’s huckleberry pie. That will fix you right up!”
As if this scenario isn’t crazy enough, I go home with a piece of pie hoping that it will make me feel better. I get home and eat the pie. It was great pie but did nothing for the pain.
Instead of staying connected to the vine. Instead of holding onto the spring of Living Water. We are running in circles trying to seek happiness in empty places. We obtained a certain level of success but It’s not enough so we seek to go further. We go on one vacation, then look to have a better vacation next year. We have our friends, they've been our friends for years but they don’t really give us what we want. So we get better friends.
How much emptiness have we chased in the last 5 days, months, years? Have you noticed that some of the things that we chase aren’t bad? But they don’t get the job done. They won’t fill the deepest desire of our hearts. Old Testament writers knew what happiness was.
Psalm 1281 Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. 2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.Some translations say “Happy are those who fear the Lord.” They say that because the original Greek word is translated as Happiness.
So let’s look to Jesus. Jesus spoke extensively about happiness.
#3 - JESUS DEFINES HAPPINESS AS BEING BLESSED.
Blessed means a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness. There is one place that we can go to where Jesus opens it all up. The Sermon on the Mount. It stands as one of Jesus's greatest teachings. Yet so few people see it as God's manual on how to find happiness. Many people would not choose these places. So let’s take a look at things that Jesus says about happiness.
Matthew 5:3-123 “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.
Jesus is defining happiness and it is weird because we don’t really think of it in those terms. Happy are those who are poor in the spirit. Happy are those who mourn. These are things that we need to be. These are not just things that we do. These speak to our identity in Jesus. Living a happy life is about who we truly are in Christ. Living a happy life means that we follow Jesus’ advice even when we experience the trials and mess of life. A truly blessed person is the person who is secure knowing who God is and who they are in him. God wants us to be happy but by default we look for happiness in the wrong places.
Billy Graham said…“We find happiness as we lead a disciplined life before God.”
God never mandates happiness to be a goal in life. Our goal is to obey God. Our goal is to be a disciple. If we sense a longing for God and a desire for change. If we sense a longing to be a new person that's God speaking to our heart. As we respond to God he will give us the ability to change and the power to change because only God can change a person.
#4 - BLESSED PEOPLE BEAR FRUIT
Because of all the factors that go into us growing as a Christian, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, because of the finished work of Jesus, we are going to bear fruit because our everyday isn’t about us. Our everyday is about staying connected to Jesus.
John 15:5-8 - 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
We have to get connected and stay connected: to worship, to the Word of God, to community and fellowship, to healthy spiritual habits. The results of that are good things. We call those good things, fruit.
Galatians 5:22-2322 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
These results are from a transformed life. There is nothing more joy-producing than when we see how God is changing us. When we used to be mean, now we're loving. when we used to be impatient now we're long-suffering. We used to have anger. Now we are kind. When we used to go wherever the wind blew, now we have self control. Someone that was sharp with their kids begins being gentle and kind with them. Someone that lives their life like a tornado begins living life in peace with the people around them. That is a move from a sad life to a happy life.
These changes are the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. He convicts us. Although we have done it a million times…No more. It's no longer a part of our life. We start seeing the sanctification process taking place. Our faith is starting to take root.
Being happy doesn’t mean that we get everything right. Being happy doesn’t mean that we are always going to be smiling all the time. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is wonderful. Being happy is knowing and being connected to Jesus.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU HAPPY?
WHAT SIN UNDERMINES YOUR HAPPINESS?
WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO HAVE PEACE?