Pursuit of Happiness

In today’s lesson I want us to look at something that everyone across time and across the world has desired.  That is happiness.  Many people pursue it their whole lives and sadly never have it.  Today we will learn in God’s word the secrets of true joy and what we must do in order to be happy.

Handout: Pursuit of Happiness

I titled this lesson “Pursuit of Happiness,” because there are so many people in the world who are pursuing it.  I use to be one of them until God taught me differently.  I would like to begin by sharing a quote.
There is no such thing as the "pursuit of happiness." We cannot pursue happiness, but happiness comes when we pursue God. Happiness is not something we can acquire, but it is a response to God's goodness. One cannot GET happiness, one must RECEIVE it from God.”  Beth Moore

I know the secret to getting everything your heart desires.  It is this.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”
First things first, if you want to be happy, seek with all your heart to delight in the LORD and to follow His ways. 

  1. Happiness, does not depend upon our circumstances, but on God's goodness!
We constantly need to remind ourselves of this principle.

Psalm 146:5 “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”

That passage of scripture doesn’t say happy is he that has a good job, lots of money, a nice family, a nice house and car, or a perfect spouse with nice children and a good education.  It does not say happy is he that lives in the perfect part of the neighborhood with wonderful friends and neighbors.  It doesn’t say happy is he that is physically attractive or in perfect health.   Those things are wonderful blessings from God if you have them, but they are not what bring happiness.  God’s word says Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help and whose hope is in the LORD his God.  That should make us stand up and shout!  Isn’t it wonderful that we can be happy through Christ no matter what circumstances we are in!!!  Life is full of good and bad things, and we can be happy through it all when our hope is in the Lord!

  1. Generosity is a prerequisite for happiness. 

It is impossible for us to be happy if we don’t get our minds off ourselves and start reaching out to help others.
Proverbs 14:21 “He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

God doesn’t bless us so that we can store it all up and put it away somewhere out of sight.  God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. 

Genesis 12:2 “ 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Think of the life of Christ.  When He was walking on the earth as human flesh, He was constantly going around finding those in need and helping them.  He wasn’t living His life pursuing what He could do for Himself.  He already had everything.  He left everything to have nothing here on earth so that He could serve us.  The Prince of Peace, The King of Kings served us!  That is so humbling and wonderful.  If The King of All Glory, bowed Himself low to minister to us, how much more should we minister to others? 

Beloved, that is what ministry is.  Many times people think that ministry is only for those who teach or those who are famous speakers, authors, or preachers.  Every child of God has a ministry through Christ.  Ministry or to minister is simply to serve.  God calls us all to serve Him and to serve others through Christ.  God gives each one different gifts and talents in order for us to serve in different ways so that every need can be met.  We are instruments of God, used by Him to build the Kingdom of Christ.  He does the work but we are tools that He uses.  What an honor that is!  

If you want to receive happiness from the Lord, ask Him in what ways you can be a blessing and then reach out to others and give of yourself in that ministry for the sake of Christ.  God has blessed you in some way that you can be a blessing to others.  I remember a specific time I was going through the drive through window at a local fast food restaurant one day after work, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me to pay for the food of the people behind me in line.  I didn’t know them but I obeyed the Lord.  I looked back in my rear view mirror and behind me I saw a lady and a young teenaged girl.  I paid for their food and then I drove away and all the way home I laughed and was so happy.  God blessed me so much in just that one instance and even now when I remember, it brings a smile to my heart and my face.  How much God loved them and wanted to bless them and I feel so honored that He let me be part of that.  He is so good! 

Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inas much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Everything we have, be it earthly possessions, gifts, talents or other blessings.  All good things come from the Father.  They were given to us to enrich our lives by enriching the lives of others in the name of Christ.  We  can choose to hang on to something that God has told us to give away, but it will have no ability to bring joy unless God has anointed  it to bring joy.  

Ecclesiastes 5:19 “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
Job 31:20-22. “If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;  21. If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: 22. Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.”

What Job is saying here is that if he hasn’t used his arm to reach out to others to be a blessing then what use has he for it?  Our bodies were created to house our souls and the Holy Spirit lives inside and we are to use all the things God has given us for His glory and to bless others.

  1. To receive happiness, we must place the needs of others before our own.
We have to give and serve others on purpose because it will be at times against the nature of this flesh.  Sometimes putting the needs of others before your own will require some sacrifice.  It requires taking up our crosses and dying to self and there is no such thing as a pleasant and padded cross. It will be uncomfortable to our fleshly natures, but it will lift up our Spirits, but the rewards of it will be much more than worth the sacrifice.

Christ took up His cross in order to sacrifice for our sins, so that we could have life abundantly forever.  He commands us to follow His example and to take up our cross and follow Him. 

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”

Matthew 10:38 “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

We cannot sit and wait until we “Feel” like it before we bless others.  The flesh has the thinking that, I’ve given my tithe for this week that’s all I’m “required” to do.   That is poor thinking, a poor attitude, and that’s what it will result, Poor living.  I’m not just speaking about finances.  The tithe is a wonderful thing and I think we should all tithe, but it is a requirement of the law.  We are not under the law, we are under grace.  If the requirement was to give 10 percent under the law, think how much more we are blessed to give under grace! 
Malachi 3:11 “ 10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

This was what God said about tithing under the law, think about how much more He will do through grace.  We can never out give God.  Start to give on purpose, not just when you feel like it and pretty soon it will be your delight and you will live for it because of the happiness that will come.

I have said it many times but it bears repeating.  We live by faith not by sight.  That goes for all areas.  We get up and do while praying for a desire to help others.  We do it on purpose and God will see our efforts and make a way for us to serve Him by serving others.  When we begin to reach out to others is when we open ourselves up to receive happiness from the LORD.  It will take prayer and communication with God to keep our fleshly, selfish natures under the control of the Holy Spirit.  We must take up our cross and crucify this flesh daily!
1 Corinthians 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye thought the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

Don’t hold on to the things God has given you to give away.  They won’t bring you joy because they were not given to you to be kept.  Some are called to give money, some called to give of their time.  There are many ways to minister to others.  Sometimes it’s the little things that matter the most to someone, a smile, a hug, a sweet note of encouragement.  If we wake up everyday with the attitude of giving and helping others, God will show us the need all around and give us new and fresh ideas of how we can minister whether we are financially wealthy or not so wealthy.  Whatever it is that we can give, we must give and not hold on to it, because if we do, we will never be happy.

Psalm 37:21 “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.”

Many times God has met my needs through the generosity of others.  I think of how I would have suffered had they not obeyed the voice of God and how their lives would have been unhappy had they not been generous.  How much more I want to be generous to others when I think of the generosity shown to me by others.  Don’t be afraid to give for fear that you will not be taken care of. God has always and will continue to take care of us. 
A worm can hang on to his cocoon forever in fear that he will fade away if he lets go, but until he lets go of it, he will never be a butterfly, he will never fly, and until then, he will never be free.  Christ had to die in order to be raised again in power and to all Glory and so do we.  Until we die to ourselves, we can never be raised in the Spirit.  Just like until our mortal bodies die, we will never go from this life to the one that is forever in the presence of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

We can hold on to our cocoons for the rest of our lives and that is exactly what we will live with, a restricting cocoon.  However, we can choose through Christ to let go of the things that hold us back and we can become butterflies and fly making a difference in the lives of others and making our lives matter.  That is when true happiness will come.

I will end the lesson this week with another wonderful quote that sums up this lesson and I hope it sinks into our hearts and inspires us to a greater love walk for Christ.  Until we stop searching how to make ourselves happy and instead seek to minister to others through Christ, we will NEVER know the true joy of the Lord. 

“When you respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit, live generously, and make giving a lifestyle, your world will be transformed.  If you want to know how to be happy, don’t look in the mirror.  Just look around you.”  Joyce Meyer

Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father,
We praise You right now for who You are.  With every week and every day that passes we see even more just how wonderful You are and how powerful Your loves is toward us.  Father we come before You in Praise and in Worship and we are so thankful for the many blessings You have given to us.  Thank You Father.  We ask that You will help us to wake up every day with a greater desire to reach out to others.  Father help us to see the needs around us and help us to meet those needs.  Father we desire with all our hearts to please You and to Bless Your heart.  Dear Almighty God, You are our God and we desire to make You smile.  We desire to be used by You to enrich the lives of others for Your glory alone.  Please help us to serve You by serving others.  Lord we know that You can change the world when even one follows and obeys Your leadership, how much more we could accomplish when we all come together in unity to meet the needs of others.  Father when we come together in the love of Christ we can help the oppressed and ease the suffering of those who are in need.  Teach us Lord and help us to learn and obey Your will.  Lord I ask that You bless each one of Your children so that each one of us can reach out and bless others daily.  Thank You for Your Love, Your grace, and Your mercy.  Thank You for hearing and answering our prayers.  You are a lovely Father and we do love You.  In the name of beautiful Jesus we ask and pray.  Amen.

May 12, 2019