April / May 2017 - Vol. 91

 group praying together
Joy and Happiness Are An Inside Job
by Tom Caballes

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." 
- John 10:10b ESV
What is your basic attitude in life? Do you often look at life as half-empty or as half-full? What will make you really happy – ten million dollars? Fame and fortune? A rock star career? The fact is that everything that your earthly life offers to you is only temporary – fleeting joy that will come and unfortunately will also go. Sometimes the things that we think can make us truly happy are already here – our family, friends, our jobs and our homes. Sometimes we need to see the good and the blessings rather than the bad and imperfections of our families, jobs, and homes. I believe that true joy and happiness comes from inside – especially if you are following the Lord. You have an inheritance awaiting you – and it can never rust, spoil or be stolen. One day, you will realise how tremendously blessed you are with God in heaven. How can you ever be happier?

So How Do You Become Happy and Stay Happy?

  1. Have an attitude of gratitude to God in life, in spite of your current challenges and problems. Enjoy the blessings that you already have. See and appreciate the big and small miracles in your daily life – many times we take things for granted once we get what we want. Be thankful for all that God has blessed you with, big and small. Count them! Every week, thank God for your week – the good and the bad.
  2. Enjoy the things that you have rather than think of and complain about the things that don’t have. We tend to compare ourselves with people who have more than we have, but the reality is that we already have been blessed by God tremendously in our different way. Be happy for what others have and be mindful of others who do not have anything. See Philippians 4:8. Learn to be content; avoid greed and the desire to have more and more money and possessions. Godliness with contentment is a great gain, says 1 Timothy 6:6.
  3. Don’t let any person, circumstances or situation rob you of the joy and peace you have inside. You are the only person who can allow yourself to be angry, resentful, fearful or worried about things. Learn to surrender things you cannot control to God, who is in control of everything. He knows the past, present, and future.
  4. Value and invest your life in your relationships. We are social beings; long and lasting happiness usually occurs in the context of relationships. Yes, you can be extremely happy with a brand new phone, car or any other gadget, but that happiness will only last for a while. Good relationships bring lasting joy.
  5. Seek and obey Gods’ will for your life. No matter how much you struggle or pout against God, you can never be truly happy if you are outside of God’s plan and will for your life. Surrender your life fully to God.
  6. Guard your mind against negativity, hopelessness, lies, and other destructive thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we should take every thought captive to obey Christ. So we should filter our minds from all negativity.
  7. Have an eternal perspective about things in life. Do not sacrifice long-term values for short-term pleasures.
  8. The key to true and long-term happiness is to be at peace with yourself and God. Learn to love and appreciate your gifting and talents, even if you know very well your weaknesses. Strive to live a life pleasing to God.
Other Scripture passages:
  1. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)
  2. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalms 34:8 ESV)
  3. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
  4. Other references: Ecclesiastes 3:12-13; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Timothy 6:6-12; and Proverbs 16:20.
For personal reflection or group sharing
  1. In a scale of 1 to 10 with one being the saddest and ten being the happiest, how happy are you? Why?
  2. What attitudes and way of thinking do you need to change for you to be joyful now – and stay joyful?
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.

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