Nearly 195,000,000 people want to be happy…
Or at least that many have viewed Pharrell Williams’ smash hit on YouTube – and if you have seen it, you know that it is tough to watch it without wanting to jump up and bust some minion moves, right?
And if you have way too much free time on your hands, or even if you’re just an insomniac, you can groove to Happy all day and night at 24hoursofhappy.com.
An amazing array of all sorts of shapes and sizes are showing off their dancing skills on the video, and if you must know, my personal favorite is at 11:23 a.m. when the guy with the GIHUGOUS afro flits and frolics down the avenue.
So, are you happy? I don’t mean in a “dance down the street” kind of happiness – although there are definitely moments for that. What I’m talking about is the sort of persistent and abiding contentment and joy on the inside no matter what is happening on the outside.
In other words – is there sunshine and dancing on the inside, even when there is darkness and trial on the outside?
My guess is, no, there usually isn’t. That’s because we base our happiness on all the planets in our solar system aligning perfectly – and when they don’t, we get lost in space.
But did you know that long, LONG before Pharrell Williams had the idea for Happy, the Apostle Paul gave us the true formula for happiness? But be warned, when you read his teaching, they may not make sense at first:
Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the things that have happened to me have actually advanced the gospel. The whole Praetorian Guard and everyone else knows that I’m in prison for Christ. Most of the brothers and sisters have had more confidence through the Lord to speak the word boldly and bravely because of my jail time. Some certainly preach Christ with jealous and competitive motives, but others preach with good motives. They are motivated by love, because they know that I’m put here to give a defense of the gospel; the others preach Christ because of their selfish ambition. They are insincere, hoping to cause me more pain while I’m in prison.
What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad (Philippians 1:12-18).
This was written at a time in Paul’s life when he was over 60 years old and in prison chains. Most men his age would rather be playing golf (if it had been invented), or at least retired to some sunny beach. Instead, Paul is overjoyed even though he has been left to rot in confinement, and jealous pastors were out preaching the gospel simply to make money or put their freedom in his face!
Yet here he is, dancing on the inside like a kid with a huge afro, even though his circumstances seem like they would more predictably bring despair.
Why? Because to Paul, happiness was dependent on His relationship with Jesus and the advancement of the gospel! To him, every person on this earth faces certain and eternal death unless he/she puts their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, so rather than focusing on his circumstances, he placed his complete attention on Christ and His Cause of making disciples.
And that made him happy.
How about you? Most of us allow our emotions and contentment to be controlled by outward conditions, but may I suggest that we start focusing our attention on our inner position? We have a personal and permanent relationship with Jesus Christ, and He has called every one of us to share the good news with a dying world desperately searching for meaning, purpose, value and happiness in all the wrong places.
If you want to find true happiness, model your life after the Apostle Paul. He said “no” to the world’s agenda for wealth, fame, power and position so he could say “yes” to the advancement of the gospel and his calling to THE Cause.
And if you, like Paul, feel chained by your circumstances and relationships, follow his example and try making your chains a channel for proclaiming the gospel. Take your eyes off yourself and your circumstances, and place them on the needs of those around you. Then, when you experience the joy of sharing Jesus’ message of hope and forgiveness, get ready to start dancing down the street!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Happy is a video that can help us evaluate what truly brings happiness in our hearts. This week, take some time to ask your friends what brings joy to their lives, and pray for opportunities to share the amazing contentment that comes from accepting and sharing the gospel.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Jesus, thank You for calling us to the mission of sharing the gospel. Remind us of the happiness and joy we have in our relationship with You, and please give us opportunities to lead our friends to You.
Read: Philippians 4:12. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
Get: Lifted. Sometimes life dishes out so much pain that we feel totally overwhelmed. That’s what happened to Katie Payne. But then she found hope for a better future. Listen in on Katie’s story of how God is in the process of redeeming even the darkest, most painful parts of her life.
If you or your friends are struggling with pain or despair so deep that you can’t see your way out, know that you needn’t struggle alone. Sometimes we need others to help pull us out of the pit of despair. So don’t hesitate to reach out and get help. Connecting with your youth leader is good place to start, or talk to a trusted teacher or counselor at your school.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: True happiness is found in Christ and in introducing others to Him.
Key Scripture: Philippians 1:12-18
- What makes you happy?
- Why is the video so popular?
- How does sharing the gospel make you happy?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?