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One is happy as a result of one's own efforts, once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness - simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience. Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain. - George Sand (1804 - 1876)
Are you happy? Are you sure? I'm pretty sure that most people want happiness, yet I'm also convinced that they are trying to gain it through all the wrong ways. It's almost as if their lives are like a long drive trying to get to a certain destination, but they keep taking mistaken turns and eventually are lost in a myriad of dead end streets.
Do you think that God wants you to be happy? I've heard sermons from both sides- and I find it fascinating that those who think God is against happiness are generally pretty sour faced themselves. Conversely those who preach a gospel of giddy glee are usually livin' la vida loca!
For me, I'd say yes and no. Yes God wants you to be happy, but not at the expense of being holy. Jesus actually gave us step by step instructions for inner joy- and the reason He took time to do that was because He really does care about the state of your personal being. He also delineates on delighting in life because He definitely wants you to watch out for the Devil's guidebook to happiness.
So let's take a look at the blueprint of Jesus (Matthew 5:3-11) and the bull of the Devil (stuff I made up):
Jesus: "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."
Satan: "You're happy when you get your own way. With more of you there is less of that ridiculous God stuff."
Jesus: "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."
Satan: "You're happy when you feel like you got everything you've ever wanted. Then you won't have to be embraced by anyone."
Jesus: "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought."
Satan: "You'll never be happy unless you are just like the beautiful people on magazines and in movies. That's the moment you'll find that everyone is jealous of you."
Jesus: "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat."
Satan: "You're happy when you get away from the silly Sunday School talk. God is smoke and mirrors and His way is the worst way to live life."
Jesus: "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being "careful,' you find yourselves cared for."
Satan: "You're happy when you only care about yourself. Those people out there don't deserve your concern."
Jesus: "You're blessed when you get your inside world--your mind and heart--put right. Then you can see God in the outside world."
Satan: "You're happy when you only concern is your outer world- looks, clothes, and toys."
Jesus: "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family."
Satan: "You're happy when you get on the side of the powerful people in the world. That's when you make friends whom you can use later on."
Jesus: "You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. "Not only that--count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable."
Satan: "You're happy when your beliefs don't offend anyone. Who are you to push your morality on anyone else? Stay happy by keeping everyone else happy."
I think you see the difference...happiness is all in the eye of the beholder. Just keep in mind the Eye that beholds you is the only One who can see you through to true contentment.
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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