The Law of Happiness

THE LAW OF HAPPINESS

(IT IS AN UNEXPECTED GIFT)

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

I)     INTRODUCTIONI AM GOING TO BEGIN A SERIES OF SERMONS ON THE UNCHANGEABLE LAWS OF LIFE THAT WILL BE IN PART BASED UPON A BOOK BY AUTHOR MAX ANDERS ON “THE 21 UNBREAKABLE LAWS OF LIFE.”  I HAVE CHOSEN TO DO THIS BECAUSE I HAVE BOTH EXPERIENCED AND WITNESSED THE GREAT STRUGGLE THAT MANY OF YOU ARE GOING THROUGH TRYING TO DECIDE IF YOU ARE GOING TO GO ON IN YOUR NEW FOUND CHRISTIAN FAITH, IF THIS REALLY WORKS. MANY ARE ON THE FENCE, BETWIXT AND BETWEEN, NOT TOTALLY COMMITTED, TRYING TO DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO RETURN TO EGYPT (YOUR OLD LIFE OF SIN) OR CONTINUE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE WHERE GOD IS TRYING SEPARATE YOU ONTO HIMSELF, TO TEACH YOU HIS WAYS AND TO SHOW YOU THAT YOU CAN TRUST HIM.  AT THE SAME TIME HE IS SHOWING YOU WHAT IS IN YOUR HEART, SO THAT YOU WILL ALLOW HIM TO CHANGE YOU FROM GLORY TO GLORY AND CONFORM YOU TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST AND PREPARE YOU FOR HIS KINGDOM.  YOU HAVE COME TO THE REALIZATION THAT IT IS NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES. IT TAKES DISCIPLINE; IT TAKES STAMINA AND SOMETIMES IT HURTS. SOMETIMES WE LONG FOR THE QUICK FIX THAT THE WORLD PROVIDES FORGETTING THAT THE QUICK FIX NEVER REALLY FIXED ANYTHING. WE ARE LOOKING FOR THAT INSTANT GRATIFICATION THAT THE WORLD PROMISES. WE JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY.

THE UNITED STATES DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE READS, IN PART:  “WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT: THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL; THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS; THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.”  AND WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT PURSUES HAPPINESS WITH A VENGEANCE  WE WORK HARD DURING THE WEEK SO THAT WE CAN PLAY OVER THE WEEKEND.  THERE IS AN ENDLESS SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS IN OUR SOCIETY. SOME RISK THEIR LIVES FOR THAT ULTIMATE THRILL: PARACHUTE JUMPING, SKY DIVING, DEEP-SEA DIVING, BUNGEE JUMPING, WHITE WATER RAFTING ETC.. THEN THERE IS THE MORE MUNDANE SPECTATOR SPORTS AND TAIL GATE PARTIES: BASEBALL, FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, HOCKEY, GOLF, WATER SKIING, SNOW SKIING, HUNTING FISHING.  THERE IS ALSO THE DARKER SIDE: ALCOHOL  DRUGS, WILD PARTIES, PORNOGRAPHY AND PROMISCUOUS SEX.

 YOU MAY THINK THAT THIS IS A MODERN DAY THING BUT IT IS AS OLD AS MAN. EPICREANS OF GREEK ANTIQUITY LIVED BY THE PHILOSOPHY “EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.”  AFFLUENT ROMANS USED TO ENJOY EATING AND DRINKING SO MUCH THAT THEY WOULD US A FEATHER TO HELP THEM THROW UP THEIR FOOD SO THAT THEY COULD CONTINUE TO EAT AND DRINK.  THE ROMANS BUILT THE COLISEUM  A LARGE OUT DOOR ARENA HOLDING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, WHERE THEY FOUND PLEASURE WATCHING, SLAVES TURNED INTO GLADIATORS, KILL EACH OTHER. ANOTHER FAVORITE RECREATIONAL EVENT WAS UNDER EMPEROR NERO WAS TO THROW CHRISTIANS TO HUNGRY LIONS AND WATCH THE LIONS TEAR THEM APART.   WE ARE NOT THERE YET BUT WE ARE HEADED THAT DIRECTION WITH MORE AND MORE BRUTAL AND LIFE RISKING BEHAVIOR. SOLOMON, KING OF ISRAEL WAS CAUGHT UP IN THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE LET’S SEE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY ABOUT THIS SUBJECT.    (TEXT: ECCLESIATES 2:1 – 11)

II)    EVERYONE WANTS TO BE HAPPY:

A)   THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS IS A UNIVERSAL QUEST OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

B)   HOW WE GO ABOUT TO BE HAPPY IS OFTEN VERY DIFFERENT FROM ONE PERSON TO ANOTHER.

C)   SOME PURSUE HAPPINESS DIRECTLY, SOME INDIRECTLY:

a)    SOME PURSUE PLEASURE AND SENSUALITY (GRATIFICATION OF PHYSICAL APPETITES)

b)    SOME PURSUE RICHES (TO GET WHAT WE THINK WILL MAKE US HAPPY)

c)    SOME PURSUE FAME (THE ESTEEM OR RECOGNITION OF OTHER PEOPLE)

d)    SOME PURSUE POWER  (TO GET PEOPLE TO DO WHAT WE WANT THEM TO)

e)    SOME PURSUE IT THROUGH THEIR WORK AND CAREERS

D)   SOLOMON, THE AUTHOR OF ECCLESIATES MENTIONS ALL OF THESE:

a)    HE SOUGHT PLEASURE, LAUGHTER,

b)    HE TRIED CHEERING HIMSELF WITH WINE

c)    HE BUILD HOUSES, VINEYARDS, GARDENS, ORCHARDS

d)    HE HAD MALE & FEMALE SLAVES, HERDS, FLOCKS

e)    HE AMASSED A GREAT FORTUNE IN GOLD AND SILVER

f)     HE HAD MEN & WOMEN SINGERS

g)    HE OWNED HAREM FOR HIS SEXUAL GRATIFICATION

h)    HE DENIED HIMSELF NOTHING (VS 10)

i)      HE FOUND EVERYTHING TO BE MEANINGLESS, A CHASING AFTER THE WIND

E)   CHRISTIANS BECOME UNCOMFORTABLE ADMITTING THAT WE ALSO WANT TO BE HAPPY.   IT DOESN’T SOUND VERY SPIRITUAL, BUT THE BIBLE DOESN’T CONDEMN US FOR SEARCHING FOR HAPPINESS.  IN FACT, THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS IS GOD GIVEN: IT IS A SEARCH FOR IDENTITY. IT IS A SEARCH FOR PURPOSE.  IT IS A SEARCH FOR MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE.  IT IS A SEARCH TO FILL THE EMPTINESS AND THE VOID AND SOOTH THE PAIN.  IT IS A SEARCH FOR GOD.  THE BIBLE, GOD’S WORD, PROVIDES A ROAD MAP IN OUR SEARCH FOR TRUE AND LASTING HAPPINESS.

III)   HOW CAN WE FIND TRUE AND LASTING HAPPINESS?

A)   THE BIBLE ADMITS THAT THERE IS PLEASURE IN SIN: HEBREWS 11:25 REFERS TO THE FLEETING OR PASSING PLEASURES OF SIN  …

a)    THERE IS PLEASURE IN SIN BUT IT DOES NOT LAST AND LEADS TO PAIN AND DESTRUCTION AND PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH AS WELL AS SPIRITUAL DEATH.

b)    WE CAN TEMPORARILY ESCAPE OUR SORROWS IN DRUGS OR ALCOHOL AND PARTYING BUT WHEN WE AWAKE FROM OUR SUPOR OUR TROUBLES ARE STILL THERE GROWING MORE DIFFICULT AND UNYIELDING.

c)    WE CAN TEMPORARILY ESCAPE THE SORROW OF WOUNDED AND FRACTURED RELATIONSHIPS ILLICIT AFFAIRS AND STOLEN MOMENTS BUT THIS ONLY INCREASES THE PAIN AND THE SORROW.

d)    THE BIBLE COMPARES THE WICKED TO A FOAMING, RESTLESS SEA THAT IS NEVER AT PEACE.

B)   SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE: HAPPINESS ISN’T FOUND BY PURSUING IT; IT IS A BY-PRODUCT OF PURSUING GOD.  

a)    ST. AUGUSTINE SAID, “The heart was made for God and it will not rest until it rest in him.”

b)    THERE IS A SPIRITUAL RESTLESSNESS IN THE HEART OF MAN THAT WE TRY TO FILL WITH EVERYTHING BUT GOD:  Ps 42:1-2: As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? KJV

c)    Ps 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; KJV

d)    Ps 16:11: Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. KJV

e)    WE FIND HAPPINESS BY PURSUING GOD AND TRUSTING HIM AND WALKING IN OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD AND HIS CALL UPON OUR LIFE.

(i)    ANOTHER WORD OF HAPPY IS BLESSED.

(a)  THE FIRST PSALM HAS SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THIS (READ)

(b)  IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT EACH BEATITUDE OR BLESSING BEGINS WITH THE WORD BLESSED (OR HAPPY) FOUND IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5.  (RECITE)

(ii)   I THINK I TOLD YOU THAT I RECENTLY MET A MISSIONARY TO CAMBODIA WHO GAVE UP A CAREER AS AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER TO BUILD AN ORPHANAGE.  WE ARE QUICK TO FEEL PITY AND TO SAY WHAT A SACRIFICE HE AND HIS WIFE HAVE MADE, BUT HE TOLD US THAT “HE WOULD TRADE PLACE WITH ANYONE.  HE HAS THE BEST JOB ON EARTH.”

(iii)  I HEARD OF A YOUNG GIRL IN HER TWENTIES THAT MADE A TRIP TO MEXICO AND BY CHANCE WENT BY THE CITY DUMP IN MEXICO CITY AND SAW THE HUNDREDS OF LITTLE CHILDREN WHO SURVIVED BY GOING THROUGH THE GARBAGE TO FIND SCRAPS OF FOOD.  SHE STAYED IN MEXICO AND BUILT AN ORPHANAGE FOR HUNDREDS OF STREET CHILDREN.

(iv) I WAS PRIVILEGED TO BE A OUR DISTRICT CONVENTION A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO WHEN WE RAISED $450,000 FOR A YOUNG MISSIONARY GIRL IN HER TWENTIES WHO WENT TO ROMANIA TO HELP THE CHILDREN WHO HAD BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR PARENTS AT BIRTH THAT WERE THROWN OUT ON THE STREETS AND LIVED IN THE SEWERS OF BUCHAREST, WHEN COMMUNISM WAS OVERTHROWN. THIS YOUNG MISSIONARY BEGIN TO PROVIDE FOOD AND SHELTER WITH HER MEAGER RESOURCES.

(v)  IN THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS: Mat 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  HAPPINESS IS A BY PRODUCT OF SERVING OUR LORD & OTHERS.

IV)  HOW CAN WE ENHANCE OUR POTENTIAL FOR HAPPINESS IN PRACTICAL WAYS?

a)    “OUR ABILITY TO BE HAPPY IN THIS LIFE IS GREATLY INCREASED BY THE KNOWLEDGE THAT COMPLETE HAPPINESS CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN THE NEXT LIFE.”  MAX ANDERS “21 UNBREAKABLE LAWS OF LIFE”. READ QUOTE FROM PEGGY NOONAN, PAGE 6.

b)    WE CAN CULTIVATE A GREATER CAPACITY FOR HAPPINESS BY BEING GRATEFUL FOR THE THINGS THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US, RATHER THAN BEING UNGRATEFUL FOR THE THINGS THAT HE HAS NOT GIVEN US.

c)    LEARN TO BE HAPPY FOR THE LITTLE THINGS (BIG THINGS DON’T COME ALONG THAT OFTEN): A CHILD’S SMILE, A BEAUTIFUL DAY, A GOOD MEAL, THE TASTE OF FRESH FRUIT, THE SMELL OF A FLOWER, A HUMMING BIRD, OUR GOOD HEALTH, A LETTER FROM A FRIEND OR THE GRANDEUR OF A MIDNIGHT SKY:

d)    LEARN TO VIEW THE GLASS AS HALF FULL RATHER THAN HALF EMPTY.  COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS NAME THEM ONE BY ONE.   THANK GOD SPECIFICALLY FOR ALL THE GOOD THINGS THAT HE HAS BLESSED YOU WITH.

e)    1 Tim 6:6-10: But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s. NIV

f)     BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WATCH ON TELEVISION AND WHAT BOOKS YOU READ AND WHAT MUSIC YOU LISTEN TO.  THESE ARE THE GATES TO OUR MIND AND HEART.  REMEMBER THE OLD SAYING “GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT”.  IT ISN’T JUST THE EXPLICIT MESSAGES THAT ARE DANGEROUS BUT THE HIDDEN MESSAGES THAT CONTAMINATE OUR SPIRIT AN AFFECT OUR ATTITUDES AND DESIRES.

g)    READ AND OBEY GOD’S WORD – IT WILL KEEP TROUBLE FROM YOUR DOOR. Prov 29:18: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. NKJV

OTHER SCRIPTURES:

  • Joh 13:17:  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (AFTER JESUS HAD WASHED HIS DISCIPLES FEET, HE SAID “THE SERVANT IS NOT GREATER THAN HIS MASTER” – SPEAKING OF SERVING ONE ANOTHER.
  • Psa 68:3-6:   But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. 4  Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him–his name is the LORD. 5  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6  God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
  • Gal 5:22 – 23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

 

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