Monday, October 24, 2011

Happiness: Fact or Fiction?

Are you easily tripped by the "Happiness Lie"?


Spring
Courtesy of Flickr: here
Confession: I am. Who could blame us? The lie is plastered everywhere. We're told to "do what makes you happy", "Be yourself", and "look out for you". The "happiness lie" is so much a staple of our culture that I'm not so sure we would know how to "live" if it was gone. If we aren't happy, what do we have? My thoughts have gone there. I'm sure in seasons of discontentment or doubt you have wondered the same.

I've learned that the secret to "success" is not happiness, but rather joy. You've heard it. Trade your happiness for joy, because happiness fades. I don't know if that's easy for you, but that goes against my very nature. It's so far removed from my thought process that I'm not even sure I understand it. Oh, I believe it. The word reveals it's truth. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Happiness is not. If you're leery look at what Paul writes in Philippians. Paul's life leads me to believe that joy despite circumstances brings value to pain.

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me (Philippians 2:17-18).

We do ourselves a disservice when our happiness is based only on the good things in our lives. Good times are unpredictable. As fun as roller coasters are, the ups and downs of an unstable foundation is not my idea of fun.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11).

Paul was sure of where he was secure. He joyed not in his trials but in his Lord. Paul is an example I come back to over and over again.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

In the good, the bad, and the typical, we can rejoice. Trust me, it will not come naturally.

I'm praying for you. I believe, if we could wrap our minds around this truth, (myself included) our lives would look a lot different!

In His Name,
Jennifer

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