Lucia's Blog: April 2019
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ARE YOU AN UNHAPPY CHILD OF GOD?

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  
Philippians 4:4-9


How is it possible that some people seem to be happy and cheerful even when they live in undesirable circumstances, but others who have substantial advantages appear to be sour, bitter, and unhappy? The apostle Paul wrote about a peace that is incomprehensible to those who do not know Christ and His Gospel. The key to understanding how to live and to have what the Gospel calls life is found in doing exactly what Jesus prescribes and thinking the way that God wants us to think. Let us examine some of the ways that He teaches us to be filled with joy inexpressible.

One of the major reasons why Jesus our Lord came to earth and died a cruel death on the cross on Calvary was because both the Father and Jesus the Son wanted us to be happy and full of joy (Philippians 4:4-8).  The secret to true happiness, joy, and strength is totally rooted in knowing and believing in Jesus.
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”   (Philippians 4:12-13). 

Paul’s happiness did not depend on his circumstances or situations, expecting or waiting on others to make him happy, and events to make him truly happy.  Paul’s life was not easy and a bed of roses but learned the secret of contentment through knowing Jesus and His promises.   When we focus on the externals, the things of the world, we will never find inner peace and joy, for these things will let us down.  Inner peace and joy are rooted and grounded in Jesus and all that He has promised to those who would love and follow Him.  When we walk by the Spirit, it will be impossible to satisfy the desires of the flesh, because such desires move us to act contrary to the teachings of the Spirit. The laws of the Spirit oppose many fleshly desires, which keep us from doing those things that are righteous and holy before God.  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It shows our spiritual maturity (Galatian 5:22-26).  Our people deceive themselves when they think that they will be happier if they get what they want. They run from where they are to some other place, or they become someone different from who they are, someone without God in the picture.  They crave for the wrong things of this life and find themselves unhappy, looking to get something else.  They run away from their problems, deceiving themselves into thinking that things are going to be better somewhere else.  But that happiness accorded to them is but for a short time, for they cannot escape their own negative attitudes of their heart.  Jesus came to give us abundant life, and to have it to the full.  Without Jesus as the Lord and Master in our life, it is impossible to find the happiness and joy that our souls are craving for.  Faith in Jesus and His promises is the key to contentment, happiness, and peace.  Jesus made these great blessings and happiness available to us when He died on the cross for us.

God’s Word has all the answers for positive mental health.  We Christians must rid ourselves of all the layers of unhappiness and move swiftly in the opposite direction.  The purpose of the present study is to encourage us, by considering what we must not do, if we wish to stay happy. At the same time, we must acknowledge God’s eternal wisdom and His principles of righteousness to remain happy or content, for God has commanded that we be content.  So, let us consider some ways in which we run the risk of remaining unhappy or not content.  It is our choice to be happy and rejoice in the Lord for what He has provided for us.  It is our choice to choose to be happy, have joy and have a more positive mental state and ask God for help to help us overcome whatever it is that hinders our joy or contentment (happiness). It is our choice to become wiser and happier people.  Why not meditate on God's wisdom? In wisdom, we can say like Paul,
“I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:12-13).

I.   HOW TO REMAIN UNHAPPY:

Are you a happy and joyful Christian? What is your state of mind?  Consider the following ways which can keep us unhappy, lacking joy or contentment.

  • Dwell on The Past:
Some people like to dwell on things that happened in the past.  They ignore that everybody makes mistakes.  They destroy their present by remaining in the past with all their failures and mistakes rather than moving on the best they can.  The cure for this is found in Philippians 3:13-14.  We must choose to forget those things which are behind us, reaching forward to those things which are ahead, heaven, our crown of life and glory.

  • Be Obsessed With the Future:
Some love to dwell on all those things that might happen to them in the future:  job, health, bills, death, and many other things that, when we worry about them too much, they rob us of our joy.  They’re always saying, "What if… what if… what if…?"  They ignore what Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-34 about those things that make us anxious and that the unbelievers seek after.  God wants us to seek Him first and His kingdom of righteousness.  He will ad all that we need according to His will.  Therefore, we must choose to not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own things and troubles.

  • Complain About Our Problems or Circumstances:
We may choose to complain about every little thing and grumble or feeling sorry for ourselves.  Complaining is always easier than choosing to fix our problems, taking the necessary steps to resolve themBut what do complaining and grumbling accomplish?  Nothing!  So we must choose to do all things without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14).

  • Fear and Resist Change:
Isn’t it something how some resist progress and fight against it!  It is futile!  Change is intrinsically neutral.  The change that we must fear is the one that leads to doing evil.  So we must resist it!  However, some changes are good for us, especially when one acknowledges his need for the Lord, choosing to submit to Him in obedience to the Gospel (Acts 3:19).  That kind of change must never be resisted!

  • Condemn Ourselves for Not Achieving Perfection:
Some condemn themselves even when they’re working hard and doing their best because they fail to meet their own expectations.  And, though some struggle with pride and the vanity of thinking too highly of themselves, others tear themselves down when they don’t achieve perfection (Col. 3:23; Matthew 22:39).

  • Associate With Those Who Belittle us:
Some people seem to enjoy tearing others down.  The more time we spend with this kind of people, the more they will affect our state of mind.  Hanging out with those who belittle us does not encourage us to have a healthy state of mind (Phil. 4:8).

  • Keep Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again; Never Learning Anything New:
One can lose focus when he gets in a rut for “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Eccl. 1:9).  Although schedules and habits are good for us, changing and learning things is also good, for they help us keep things anew or fresh, reminding us of life’s purpose (Eccl. 12:13-14).
“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”  

  • Be Lazy, Following the Path of Least Resistance:

God created us to work and be fruitful.  Laziness does not lead to good and healthy mental health.  In the book of Proverbs, we find many exhortations against being lazy and its terrible consequence.
“Lazy hands make for poverty,but diligent hands bring wealth.”  (Proverbs 10:14). 
“The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway.” (Proverbs 15:19). 
“The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”  (Prov. 10:14).
  • Hold on to Anger and Resist Forgiveness:
Some hold on to anger for weeks, months and even years!  But God demands that we do otherwise, for it is not good to be angry and let the sun go down on our anger or wrath.  So we must take care of that problem today before it is ever too late!  We must refuse to give the devil any opportunity to make us sin (Eph. 4:26-27).

  • Always Insist That One is Right And Never Wrong:
Those who are proud and are unwilling to admit their failures, shortcomings, and mistakes can never find real joy or happinessThey are always right in their own eyes and never let anyone else be more right than them.  The Bible warns us that God hates the sin of pride and will discipline the proud! Let us not see ourselves as "wise in our own eyes" but let us be humble and willing to learn from God and others! Jesus is our ultimate example of selflessness who gave Himself on the cross for us!  
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  (James 4:6).  
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”  (Prov. 11:2).  
“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”  (Prov. 13:10).
  • Comparing Ourselves to Others:
When we compare ourselves negatively or unfavorably to others who are more successful or more blessed than we are, it is not productive or fruitful.  It doesn't glorify God, and it brings reproach on us.  It opens the door to envy, jealousy and complaint.  We must use our talents faithfully to the glory of God.  In Matthew 25, in the parable of the talents, we notice that the servant who received two talents did not complain against the servant who received five talents.  Instead, he went out and used the talent that he had faithfully without complaint, envy or jealousy.  This is an excellent lesson for us to learn!

  • Allow Small Problems or Issues To Escalate and Become Big Problems:
It is foolish to ignore the small problem, hoping it will go away by itself.  Take for instance, when one offends somebody, it is our obligation to go to the offended person and correct the problem or wrongdoing while it is still small and there is hope of resolving it (cf. Matt. 5:23-24).  It is foolish to wait in solving problems when the sooner they are addressed, the easier it will be to resolve them.  It is wise to solve them right away rather than later, whether they be spiritual problems or physical ones.

  • Refuse to Take Responsibility For Our Own Wrongdoings and Actions:
It is not wise but foolish to refuse to take or accept responsibility for our actions, blaming everyone except ourselves.  Take for instance, Adam. He blamed Eve, his wife for eating of the tree that God had commanded them not to eat.  Adam shifted the blame to Eve saying,  “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”  Eve did the same thing when God questioned her for disobeying Him.  “And Jehovah God said unto the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”  (Genesis 3:11-13).  Even though Adam had received Eve, his wife, as a great gift from God, he after a short time, accused Eve, this gift of God. What Adam did not realize was that he was accusing God himself for the wrong that he had done. Both Adam and Eve failed to take responsibility for their actions.  It is amazing!

  • Refuse to Let Anyone to Help us:
Many refuse to let others help them because they are too proud.  They won’t accept help from someone else and will refuse to ask for help even when they really need itIt is foolish!  God has commanded us to bear each other’s burdens, for this is the fulfillment of the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

  • Quit When The Going Gets Tough:
We sometimes give up or stop working hard when things are challenging, wasting our potential, failing to endure until the end. Some will be discouraged and will be deceived, giving up their faith and their hope.  But Jesus has taught us to endure to the end to be saved and receive our crown of life, righteousness  and glory (Matt. 10:22; 1 Cor 9:25; Ph.  4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19;2 Tim. 4:8;1 Pet. 5:4;Jas. 1:12; Rev. 2:10).

  • Refuse to Rest for Overall Health:
Some refuse to rest, for they don’t expect to get tired. They think they can do it all.  The human body needs enough rest to maintain strength and good health. But, it is possible to go to the other extreme and become lazy and unprofitable (Prov. 6:9).

  • Say “Yes” to Everyone and Everything:
Although it is always good to be busy and productive, it is wise not to fill our plate with demands or commitments all the time, overwhelming ourselves to the point of neglecting what must be the most crucial thing in our lives, seeking and serving God and His kingdom of righteousness (Mark 6:31).

  • Striving to Be Everyone’s Friend:
It is good to try to be everyone’s friend, but it is not so good when they hinder our walk with Jesus.  No one can be a friend to everyone!  Jesus had many enemies.  So many that they crucified Him.  The Bible warns us saying, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to their false prophets.”  (Lk. 6:26).

  • Refuse to Spend Time Alone to Meditate:
It is wise and good to spend time alone, decompress sometimes, for life can be stressful.  Find quiet time to be alone, meditate on God’s Word and pray alone with God. That is what we need.  Jesus stressed this in Matthew 6:6:  “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

  • Avoid Helping Others Unless We Have to:
Indeed, doing the things that would benefit us is pure self-centeredness and a sure way for unhappiness.  Jesus gives us the remedy to self-centeredness in Philippians 2:3-4.  “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

  • Hang Out With Those Who Complain and Whine All The Time:
Do you want to be unhappy, just hang out with whiners and complainers, for it will affect your heart tremendously!  Spending too much time with them will sourpuss you and make you into one like them.  Be careful and do not be deceived about choosing your friends, for they will corrupt your good habits and righteousness (1 Cor. 15:33).

  • Having a Negative Outlook Toward Life, Refusing to be a Cheerful Person:
Some people take life and everything too seriously, for they want to be solemn.  There is nothing wrong with smiling and laughing when it is appropriate.  It makes life better!  Those who laugh and enjoy life live longer. A merry heart or broken spirit is a choice! A joyful, loving, thankful, peaceful, forgiving, and full of praise heart will be a blessing to others.  On the other hand, a negative person with a negative attitude always finds something wrong in his everyday life (Pr. 15:15). Contentment and joy are choices, and we must choose well.  “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22).

  • Performing a Job That You Hate and Are Not Passionate About:
Spending most of your God-giving time on a career field that we do not enjoy can indeed make us very unhappyWhy not pursue another line of work or career that makes you happy and productive?

  • Focusing on Our Problems, Struggles, and Bad Things:
We all have our share of blessings and struggles that we have to deal with every day, but we must choose to have a positive mental focus Focusing on the good in life will make us more optimistic and productiveFocusing on the bad things that happen to us in life, will bring us down quickly and will make us unhappy “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”  (Prov. 23:7).

  • Thinking Always About the Things We Don’t Have:
Focusing always on the things that we don’t have will make us unhappy and rob us of our joy.  We must learn to count our blessings and name them one by one.  It will surprise you all that God has done for us!  Paul is our greatest example of joy and contentment, for he learned to be content in all things and circumstances (Phil. 4:11-13).

  • Setting Goals too High, Lofty:
Setting goals that are unreasonably lofty is foolish, for it will hinder us from accomplishing them and will make us unhappy.  We must learn to use discipline and continued effort to achieve our goals, for doing it this way will help our mental health significantly.

  • Refuse to Take Care of Our Physical Body to Stay Healthy:
Lack of exercise and self-control at the table will harm our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit.  God cannot use us if we neglect our temples, our bodies, for they will get sick and become fruitless, unprofitable for God’s things (1 Tim. 4:8).

  • Set Our Hearts on Material Things and Money:
Although money is not bad, it can become a stumbling block in serving God and His kingdom of righteousness faithfully.  Focusing our lives on money and material riches can make us selfish.  When our money is directed toward self and family, it becomes a significant problem.  Why?  Because God expects us to do good and bless others with our resources.  God commands us not to put our trust on material riches but on Him alone, for He blesses us richly in all things to enjoy and share them with others.  He wants us to be rich in good works and ready to give and be generous, willing to share with those who are needy (1 Tim. 6:17-19).

  • Spend More Than we Earn, Accumulating Financial Debt:
Racking up lots of debt will surely bring unnecessary stress and sorrow to our lives.  We must discipline ourselves to live within our income, even when others are not.  The Word of God commands us not to owe anything to anyone except to love one another (Rom. 13:10).

  • Make Empty Promises We Cannot Keep:
We must learn to do what we say we will do.  There are times when we may say “yes” and  times when we must say “no.”  Thus we must always do what we promise or commit ourselves to do.  We must avoid at all cost, making promises which we are not serious about keeping.  “Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.”  (Eccl. 5:5).

  • Frown All the Time:
Although it takes effort to smile, we must, for it is worth it!  We have so much to be joyful for, for God has blessed us and given us more than we deserve.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  (Phil. 4:4).  “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”  (Psalm 32:11).  “And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you.”  (Deut. 26:11).

  • Always Keeping Everything to Ourselves and Not Asking Others For Counsel or Advice:
Communication is essential to strong and healthy relationships which can, in the long run, bear much joy in our lives.  One way to stay unhappy is to never tell anyone how we feel or what we’re thinking.

  • Do All Things to Impress Someone Else:
When our focus is primarily on pleasing others and seeking their approval, we will fail, accomplish nothing and be unhappy.  The One we must focus on exclusively and please is the Lord, for we are His servants!  In Galatians 1:10 Paul declared, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

  • Waste Time Watching TV And Online Every Moment:
This seems to be an escape for many, but it wastes away our God-given precious time when in fact we ought to be doing other more important things to His glory; things of eternal value. Spending too much time on social media and personal entertainment like watching TV and many others things such as these allows our heart to be filled with filth, both in mind and heart (Phil. 4:8).

  • Always Working and Not Taking Time Off:
It is wise to take time off for recreation, rest, recharging or refreshing.  It will add quality to our life.  God made us and knows what’s best for a healthy state of mind.  In the Old Testament God told His people to rest on the Sabbath Day.  Although we’re not under the Sabbath Law today, it is wise to take time off to rest from our daily burdens and cares (Exo. 20:8-11).

  • Let Our Close Relationships Deteriorate:
When we stop nurturing and investing in our relationships with others, especially our mates,  they will witherTo love our spouse the way God demands, must be the primary relationship we work on (Eph. 5:22ff).

  • Never Finish What We Start:
Nothing will make us more unhappy than to start a project and then stop. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” (Colossians 3:23) It is not very fulfilling to dabble a little bit here and there.  So we must work hard with our might to finish what we start (Eccl. 9:10).

  • Take Everything Personally:
We will never be happy if we expect others to tolerate and be patient with us without reciprocating.  We must not tolerate in ourselves a persecution complex!  Ours is to give and not to receive.  “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matt. 7:12).

  • Never Apologize, Ask Forgiveness or Say, “I’m Sorry, or I Love You.”
It is crucial that we humble ourselves when we make a mistake, do wrong or sin against each other.  We must be willing to apologize, ask forgiveness and say the most important phrases in any language (I’m sorry, and I love you).  Are we saying them enough?

  • Rely on Others to do Everything for Us:
The truth is we are not entitled to anything, for every blessing is a gift from God (James 1:17).  Although it is not bad to rely on others sometimes, it is not wise and healthy to rely on everyone for everything.  It is pure immaturity and selfishness when one refuses to do anything for himself.  It will not lead to a joyful state of mind.

  • Destroy Our Bodies and Minds With Illegal Drugs and Alcohol:
Many do these things to escape from their daily burdens and cares, but they never bring real happiness“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler and whoever is lead astray by it is not wise.”  (Prov. 20:1).

  • Procrastinate and Refuse Making Decisions:
When we are indecisive, we allow our God-given life and opportunities to pass us by.  Since we are promised only today and live on this earth only once, we must choose to do it right according to God’s will (Heb. 9:27).

  • Always Belittle and Disregard Others’ Opinions and Advice:
Disregarding other people’s opinions and suggestions will bring us ruin and unhappiness.  Those who refuse the counsel of others often fall and find no safety (Prov. 11:14).  To grow in wisdom, we must allow wise counsel to correct us, replacing our thoughts and opinions with their wise counsel.  This is a hard choice to make, for it is hard to be criticized and corrected. To receive the wise counsel of others, we must learn to crush our pride and subject our ideas and plans to the analysis and examination of others. By choosing godly and successful people as our counselors, we can instantly raise the quality and results of our decisions.  This will indeed bring happiness to our life!


II.   WHY ARE SO MANY CHRISTIANS UNHAPPY?  WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

Solomon wrote,

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  (Prov. 23:7).  


As I mentioned earlier in my study, happiness is a state of mind, for it is all in our head.  Too often we are guilty of thinking wrong and not according to God’s ways.  We deceive ourselves thinking that we will be happier if we get what we want or escape to someplace else or try to look like or become someone different than we are.  Consider the parable of the great banquet where a certain man goes out of his way to prepare a feast, inviting his friends and neighbors, to come and enjoy it with him.

“When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, ‘Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!’ 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”  (Luke 14:15-24).

In this parable, none of the guests that were initially invited came to his feast, for they all made up various excuses as to why they couldn’t attend.  When the servants of the master reported this to him, he became very angry.  The master was hurt most likely because of all the preparations, expense and trouble he had to go through to show these guests how special they were by throwing a big banquet for them but they preferred to do something else, refusing to show up.  We all can relate to this one way or another.  Wouldn’t it hurt you and be upsetting if you had put so much effort into showing hospitality to others and no one showed up?  In this story, the master didn’t give up but sent his servants to find any or everyone he could find, even if they were strangers to him, to come to this big feast.  I believe God is trying to tell us something in this parable.  He is telling us how He feels when we refuse to take advantage of His great blessings that He has provided for us.  God has provided us with so many blessings!  He has offered us abundant life, joy, peace and an excellent inheritance equal to that of His beloved Son, Jesus our Lord.  Yet so many Christians seem to be blind or forget those blessings and promises made by God.  And just like the man in this story was disappointed, I believe our God is disappointed when we choose to be unhappy, miserable, sad, depressed, whining and complaining despite all the many blessings He bestows on us.  We come up with all kinds of excuses as to why we don’t want to take advantage of what He is offering us (all His precious and magnificent promises so that we can become partakers of His divine nature).  Here is a wise reminder for us.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”  (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Because of God’s glory, excellence and love for us, He has given us great and precious promises that help us to share or be partakers of His divine nature and escape the corruption of this world.  When we put on Christ, we also put on God.  Another great promise given to us is found in Romans 6:23“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  1. God has promised us, His faithful children, that He will be with us and not leave us orphans (John 14:15-19).  
  2. In Philippians 4:7, we are told that God will guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus when we have the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.  
  3. In Romans 8:35, God has promised His faithful children that nothing will separate them from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35).  
  4. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, God has promised that He will not let us be tried or tempted beyond what we can endure.  
  5. In Romans 8:28, He has promised that all things work together for our good.  
  6. In 2 Corinthians 9:8, we are told that God is able to make Grace abound to us so that all our needs are met, for we are in God’s favor.  
  7. We are promised an amazing inheritance, Eph. 1:14; Col. 1:12.  
  8. We are promised that we can approach God with freedom and confidence, Eph. 3:12.  
  9. In Hebrews 2:18, Jesus has promised to help us when we are being tempted.  
  10. God has promised to give us wisdom if we ask Him for it, James 1:15
  11. He has promised that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us as well, James 4:8.  
  12. God will continue to forgive and cleanse us of new sin, if we confess those sins to Him, 1 John 1:9.  
  13. We have been promised that we will be like Jesus when He reappears, for we will be made like Him, 1 John 3:2.  
  14. We are promised new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells, 2 Peter 3:13.  
  15. God has promised us eternal life through His Son, Matt. 7:13-14; John 3:16; Rev. 3:5-9; 1 John 5:11-14.

These are just a few of the many promises or blessings given to all faithful Christians.  So we have a choice to make.  We can choose to be happy, content and to rejoice because of who we are in Christ, God’s sons and daughters and because He has set heavenly glory to richly bless us in our daily walk with Him.  On the other hand, we can choose to be miserable, unhappy, sad, angry, depressed, feel sorry for ourselves, whine and complain about every little thing in life.  The choice is ours to make, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  One way leads to abundant life with God.  The other way leads to destruction, for it is a sad and unhappy way of life.  The key is what we believe, think and ultimately it is our faith in God.  So we must examine our hearts and start making up our minds, choosing to rejoice in the Lord every day for what He has done and provided for us.  Why not pray to God to help you be a more positive and happier person?  Why not acknowledge and thank God for His love and the abundant promises He has made to bless you?  Reflect on this with all of your heart and mind and one day you will be able to join Paul’s voice and say,
“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.”  (Phil. 4:12-13).


CONCLUSION:

In the “Beatitudes of Christ,” we find the most condensed collection of wisdom ever given on the subject of human joy.  In Matthew 5:3-12 Jesus declared,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Jesus is giving us here a formula for real and lasting joy!  To learn real and lasting joy, we must be humble and empty ourselves of all pride and self-sufficiency and become more “poor in spirit” as we mourn for our sinfulness before a Holy and Righteous God. In doing this, we can rest assured that it will be easier to submit to God and His rule completely and become strong (i.e., “me”) under His control. Those who are meek and submit to God and His rule completely will naturally “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” for they acknowledge that without God and His spiritual nourishment, they are destitute.  For one to be “merciful,” he must strongly desire to do righteousness because God is so merciful to him.  One must strongly desire to be righteous, “hunger and thirst after righteousness” to be pure in heart.  A “peacemaker” strongly desires to do what is right to be full of mercy and is devoted to being completely pure.  However, those who possess all these attributes of true joy will be hated by those who reject the righteousness of God.  The righteous of God will suffer as they are “persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”  Nonetheless, such persecution does not weaken or dampen the spirits of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,” for they know their reward is not on earth but in heaven!

So Christian, do you consider yourself to be happy and full of joy?  How much time do you have left to be really happy and full of joy?  Are you aware that the Father sent His Son Jesus into this world to die for you and me on that cruel cross of Calvary so that you and I could have joy, and rejoice in the Lord always, Phil. 4:4-7?  Let these thoughts sink deeply into your hearts!

May we find our joy, inner peace, and strength, rooted in knowing and believing in Jesus, for He will never let us down.  May we trust our Lord Jesus and all that He has promised to those who love and follow Him.  May we get rid of our negative attitudes to please God and find the joy that our souls crave for.  May we have faith in Jesus and all His promises to us so that we can unlock the key to real happiness.  May we take advantage of God’s great blessings, the blessings that our God has made available to us so that we can have joy and peace.  And may we hunger and thirst after righteousness, acknowledging that without God and His spiritual nourishment, we are bankrupt, needy and poor.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses, self-control; against such things, there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  (Galatians 5:22-24).

Luci