Traits of the Unhappy

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Psalms 27


I.         Back in 2014 I ran across an article by Tamara Star, titled “Seven Habits of Chronically Unhappy People”.

            A.        The author’s conjecture is that unhappy people establish habits that keep them miserable.

            B.        These aren’t one time or infrequent events but the ways they basically view life

II.        A negative view of life

            A.        Unhappy people tend to see life as hard and see themselves as victims

            B.        Happy people experience hardships, but tend to bounce back - Proverbs 24:16

            C.        The big difference is that happy people persist in finding solutions

                        1.         James 1:12 - It isn’t that the trials don’t exist or are milder for the happy person. The difference is that he endures.

                        2.         Salvation comes to those who persist - Romans 2:7

                        3.         Trials actual build and strengthen the Christian - Romans 5:3-5

                        4.         They hang onto hope - Romans 12:12

                        5.         A hope that is taught in the Scriptures - Romans 15:4-6

            D.        Unhappy people focus on what is wrong in the world and, thus, miss what is right in the world

                        1.         Finding fault in others - James 4:11-12

                        2.         We all have flaws and things we need to improve. But the unhappy searches them out, ignoring the good in others

                        3.         Happy people focus on the good in people - Ephesians 4:29-32

                        4.         It doesn’t mean they are unaware of sins in people’s lives, but they work to improve people so that they overcome their faults

            E.        This negative view of other people spills over. Unhappy people don’t trust other people.

                        1.         Titus 1:15 - We see people, and the world, tinted with our own attitude

III.       Envy and jealousy

            A.        Unhappy people think that another person’s good fortune steals from their own fortune - Galatians 5:26

                        1.         It becomes self-feeding - I Timothy 6:3-5

            B.        We should not compare ourselves to other people - II Corinthians 10:12

            C.        Unhappy people are trying to elevate their own self-worth in the eyes of others

                        1.         Don’t seek your own glory - Proverbs 25:27

                        2.         Any praise should come from others - Proverbs 27:2

            D.        Happy people know that many people are not worth comparing themselves to

                        1.         Don’t envy the wrongdoers - Psalms 37:1 (also Proverbs 23:17; 24:1)

                        2.         Don’t envy the violent - Proverbs 3:31

IV.      Trying to control the uncontrollable

            A.        Happy people have goals and objectives, but they also realize that they have little control, so are flexible. They don’t get all that upset if things don’t go their way.

                        1.         God is in control - Proverbs 16:1, 9

            B.        Unhappy people try to control every aspect. Every deviance becomes another reason to get upset.

            C.        Need to recognize that we aren’t in control - James 4:13-16

V.        Worries and fears

            A.        Unhappy people fill their thoughts with what might go wrong. Happy people tend to think about what might go right

            B.        Sure, life has it is down points, but enjoy what you can - Ecclesiastes 11:8-10

            C.        If we focus on worries in this world, it will choke us - Matthew 13:22

            D.        Instead, trust that God takes care - Matthew 6:25-34

VI.      Living in the past

            A.        Unhappy people mentally live in their past. Conversations revolve around all that went wrong in the past. When they run out of things to talk about, they grumble about current situations and people.

                        1.         Philippians 2:14-16 - Do everything without grumbling and disputing

            B.        Happy people tend to focus on the future and what can improve

                        1.         Forgetting what lies behind - Philippians 3:12-14

            C.        Be patient with people - Colossians 3:12-14

VII.     There is no guarantees of a life without problems

            A.        We will face trials

            B.        But you can control how you view life

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