How to be Happy

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Philippians 4:1-7


I.         Are you happy? Truly happy?

            A.        For many people the answer is “I would be happy, if ...”

                        1.         If something changed, then I could be happy.

                        2.         Sometimes the change is something simple. “Once I lose another ten pounds, I’ll be happy.”

                        3.         But too often the demand is over something a person has no control. “If I was five inches taller, I would be happy.”

            B.        Abraham Lincoln noted, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

                        1.         Happiness isn’t something given to you.

                        2.         Happiness is how you choose to see your life.

            C.        Kenneth Cooper told this story:

I heard a story recently about a king in Africa who had a close friend whom he knew since childhood. This friend had a habit of looking at every situation whether good or ill and remarking “This is good!” 

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend was loading the guns and then handing them to the king. Apparently he did something wrong in preparing one gun, for after taking the gun, the king pulled the trigger and his thumb was blown off. 

Examining the king’s hand, the friend remarked, as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his ex-friend to jail. 

About a year later, the king was hunting in area that he should have stayed clear. Cannibals captured him and took them to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. But as they were about to light the fire, one of them noticed that they king was missing a thumb. In their superstitious beliefs, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So they untied the king and let him go. 

When he returned home, the king remembered his friend. In remorse he went to jail to speak to him. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” He then proceeded to tell him all that had happened. “I’m very sorry for sending you to jail for this. It was bad of me to do this.” 

“No,” his friend replied, “this is good!” 

                “What do you mean, ‘this is good!’ How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?” 

“If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you.”

            D.        You choose whether to be happy or not – Philippians 4:4-5

                        1.         Because of our trust in God Christians can be happy even while dealing with problems.

                        2.         Happy is the person who trusts in God and His word - Proverbs 16:20

                        3.         Trust in God with all our heart - Proverbs 3:5-6

            E.        People tend to think that only when they are in control can they be happy

                        1.         The employee thinks life will be so much better if he was the boss

                        2.         When people find out that their choices are limited, then they are miserable.

                        3.         If they can’t have it their way, then they are unhappy.

                        4.         The hard reality is that little in our life is fully in our control, but life is in God’s hands. How much do we trust God?

II.        Happiness in Righteous Living

            A.        God teaches us to live righteously - Titus 2:11-12

            B.        Living righteously means filling our minds with wholesome things - Philippians 4:8

            C.        When we live righteously, there is no guilt over what we have done - Romans 13:3

            D.        Happiness for the upright - Psalm 97:11-12

            E.        Delight yourself in God - Psalm 37:3-6

III.       Happiness in Worshiping God

            A.        Worship is to give glory to God and gives happiness to man - Psalm 95:1-3

            B.        A delight in learning His word - Psalm 119:24

            C.        Think of all the blessings God has given us – daily blessings too numerous to count

            D.        We are God’s creation. We are the work of His hands.

            E.        God is able to bring us faultless before Him - Jude 24-25

IV.      Happiness in Contentment

            A.        It might appear that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but it isn’t.

            B.        The trick is to find satisfaction in life as it is - Philippians 4:11-13

            C.        Even in hard times we can find happiness by understanding the long term results - James 1:2-4

            D.        Shared comfort in troubles - II Corinthians 1:3-7

V.        Happiness in Effort

            A.        There is happiness in accomplishment - Psalm 128:2

            B.        Enjoying our work is God’s gift - Ecclesiastes 5:18-19

            C.        We are to give effort in our service - Romans 12:11

                        1.         And we enjoy the result of our work - Isaiah 3:10

                        2.         Know that our work isn’t useless - I Corinthians 15:58

VI.      Happiness is not in things

            A.        Happiness is not a new car, a big home, or a new toy

            B.        Happiness is a spiritual. It is an outlook on life.

            C.        Colossians 3:1-3

Based on an article by Matthew Allen.

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