Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Everyone is seeking happiness! How do we find it?
As the New Year 2010 rang in I heard a lot of comments about the past year 2009. Most people were eager to “start fresh” in 2010...forgetting about the “dreadful” year 2009. There was much talk about “new beginnings” and the hope of finding happiness in 2010.
Amidst all the comments it became painfully obvious to me that most of the people making them didn’t have much more hope for finding happiness in 2010 than they did in 2009. Not that it’s not available to them, it’s just that they’re pursuing it in all the wrong places. They’re pursuing relationships, things (more money, better job, trinkets and gadgets) and “fun,” all the while quoting all the fine-sounding, self-help happiness slogans. Always seeking the “next big thing” that’s going to bring them that ultimate happiness. Yet, they’re still as unhappy from one day to the next !
Psalm 84:11b-12 says, "No good thing will the LORD withhold from those who do what is right. Oh Lord Almighty, happy are those who trust in you."
What’s the answer? What brings true happiness? I believe (from reading the scripture reference above and many others) it’s wrapped up in two words: TRUST and OBEY!
Trust and Obey (Love that old hymn)…“for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” So true!!
How do I know that trusting and obeying are the answer? Because I am living proof!
I spent way too much time in the past seeking happiness in the wrong places. I prayed and still believed in God, but I didn’t do much trusting God and I definitely didn’t do much obeying Him. Yet, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy. Why God wasn’t blessing me?! I wanted to do things my own way while keeping Him on the back-burner. Then I wondered why I was miserable. Sure I had some fun--some of that fleeting, temporary “happiness” the world offers. I often had a big smile on my face. Still, when all was said and done, I had very little (if any) peace, hope and joy. My life was not blessed by God because I (my life ) was not blessing Him!
Proverbs 19:3 says, “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.”
We all want God to bless us right? But do we really want to bless Him? Why do we expect God to bless us if we’re not willing to serve Him wholly? Jesus clearly said in John 14:15, “If you love me; obey my commandments.” If we don’t obey Him (showing our true love for Him) then why do we think He will continue to show favor to us? We’re all going to fail at times, but do we earnestly have a desire to serve and honor God? Or are we holding back a bit (or much) of ourselves from Him?
God is able to accomplish more than we would ever dare to ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20). He will supply all we need (Philippians 4:19). He will bless us IF we obey (James 1:22-26).
Obedience and trust really go hand in hand. If you trust Him you will more easily obey Him. The more you obey Him, the more you will realize that you can trust Him. Then the more you trust Him, the more you will obey Him. You get the idea. It goes on and on into a more loving, intimate relationship with the LORD.
Does this mean that if we trust and obey God that nothing will ever go wrong in our lives? Of course not. We live in a fallen, imperfect world where pain, disappointment and sorrows linger. Because we live this human existence we will experience some of life’s difficulties. Even Jesus Christ’s life wasn’t exactly a “walk in the park”, remember?
Yet, through this often difficult journey the person who is trusting and obeying our risen Savior will find peace, hope and joy…the peace, hope and joy only He can give! Not as the world gives--fleeting, temporary happiness. No! He gives peace that passes all understanding or comprehension (Philippians 4:7). He gives abounding hope (Romans 15:13) and joy that gives us strength (Nehemiah 8:10). He turns sorrow into peace, hope and joy as we choose to trust and obey Him through all of our days…even the darkest of times.
I still have a lot to learn about complete surrender. I need to trust and obey my LORD more thoroughly, more readily, more promptly at times. Yet, I have a yearning desire to trust Him more wholly. I want to more quickly obey Him. I want my life to bless Him. And in turn, I pray that I will continue to be blessed by Him…with His peace, hope and joy through all of life’s ups and down.
My life is not “perfect” today, but I AM HAPPY! My happiness is not wrapped up in another person, thing or upcoming event. Nope, it’s in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m learning to trust and obey Him more completely with each passing year. And that’s why 2009 was a great year for me…and I know that 2010 will be even better!! Thank you LORD for all of our many, many blessings!!
My reading friend I want this happiness (and even more) for you as well!! Let 2010 be the year of complete surrender to truly trusting and obeying God! Get into His Word, seek Him and follow Him more closely...and I will do the same. I know our lives will be blessed because of it!!
Galatians 6:7-9 says, “Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.”