Give me a word, Lord: THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Luke 11:28 But Jesus answered, “Rather, how happy are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

Psalm 144:15 Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Will Smith starred in a movie a few years ago called “The Pursuit of Happyness.” The movie was based on the true life story of Chris Gardner and his one year struggle as a homeless man with a young son living on the streets. I came across this quote from Chris Gardner, and it made me think about pursuing happiness. “It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?” Everyone is pursuing happiness. Even the guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence over 200 years ago thought that it was necessary to include pursuing happiness as a human right.

Happiness is something that we all want, but we rarely find because we don’t recognize it when we see it. We aren’t looking in the right place for it. What really makes us happy? The scripture tells us that we will find happiness in hearing the Word of God and obeying it, and those whose God is the Lord will be happy. So we find happiness in God, in His Word, and in obeying Him. In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus spoke of those that will be happy. He said that those that are poor in spirit, those that mourn, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those that are persecuted for righteousness sake are blessed. Well, that laundry list doesn’t sound like a list of happy people. However, in order to truly be happy, we have to seek the source of happiness, and the source of true happiness is Jesus. The Beatitudes listed in Matthew 5 teach us wonderful virtues and values. When we learn these virtues and adapt these values in the way that we live our lives, the result is a joy filled life full of blessings and rewards.

You may remember that old song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” I think one of the biggest problems in society is that we are looking for happiness in all the wrong places. We are looking to the world to provide happiness for us, or we are looking within ourselves for happiness. We can look for years on end, and we will never find true happiness in things of this world, and try as we might, we can’t make ourselves happy under our own will. We may find temporary happiness, but it will fade quickly. The true, lasting, full of joy, overflowing heart happiness can only be found in Jesus. And when we find happiness in Jesus, we start seeing things all around us that make us happy. While dressing for work this morning, I made a list in my head of a few things that make me happy: a star filled sky, sunsets, sunrises, fireflies on a warm summer night, my family, my friends, my critters (of course, my critters!), and my list goes on for days. Where do all of these things that make me happy come from? The Creator! He made each and every one of the things, and I find true happiness in these things because I see the Creator in them. Knowing Him and knowing that He created all of these things just for my pleasure brings me extraordinary happiness!

In Philippians 4, Paul tells us that he has learned to be content in whatever circumstance he finds himself in. He says that he has been in need, and he has had plenty. He recognizes that his strength comes from Christ, and no matter what circumstance he is enduring at the moment, he has confidence that Christ will see him through. Peeps, that’s where we find happiness. It is in Christ alone. When we have Christ, we have all that we need. When we look for Him, He is right there with us no matter what circumstance we are going through. If we are enduring hard times, sickness, grief, persecution, or any other difficult situation, we can still be happy knowing that we have the joy of Jesus in our heart and the strength of our Savior to carry us through. I’m here to tell you that true happiness can be found. You just have to know where to look…

Today I challenge you to make a list of things that make you happy, and then look at that list and look for Jesus. I bet you’ll see Him there! If you really want to pursue happiness, all you have to do is pursue Jesus! Pursuing happiness = pursuing Christ!

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