>Are you happy? This morning I received three ezines in my email inbox that were on the topic of happiness. Universally happiness is something that all humans seek.
As a Christian, we are not guaranteed happiness in this life. In fact, if someone were to look at the lives of Jesus and the apostles before converting to Christianity, it would probably make them want to run the other way:
- Jesus Christ was suffered with beatings, torture, and crucifixion.
- Historians believe that Peter was one of the founders of church at Rome and was crucified in the Neronian persecution in A.D. 67, 68 – according to historians, requesting to be crucified head-first because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same manner as his master.
- Andrew, after preaching in Scythia in Greece, in Asia Minor and Thrace, was said by historians to have been crucified at Patrae in Achaia.
- James the son of Zebedee was put to death by Herod Agrippa I, the day before Passover.
- Matthew-there is reason to believe that he stayed for fifteen years at Jerusalem, after which he went as missionary to the Persians, Parthians and Medes. There is a legend that he died a martyr in Ethiopia.
- Jude (Thaddeus) – according to tradition, Jude taught in Armenia, Syria and Persia, where he was martyred.
- Thomas was martyred in Persia or India, his death said to be from spears.
- James, son of Alpheus, according to tradition, was thrown from the temple by the scribes and Pharisees, stoned, and his brain dashed out by a fuller’s club.
- The details of three of the apostles’ deaths (John, Bartholomew, and Simon the Canaanite) are not known at all. According to tradition from early Christian historians and the Bible, eight of the disciples died as martyrs.
An eternal difference: Your life has a higher purpose than just living for you
This is not the happiness club! Yet they were life-changers and history-makers. Their lives made an eternal difference because they lived for a higher purpose than just living for themselves.
God wants you to be happy
God wants you and me to be happy and fulfilled, just as we want our children to be happy. He didn’t create us to be miserable creatures, depressed, bewildered, angry, stressed out and upset all the time. He wants to give us the joy of our salvation, which is our strength (Psalm 51:12, Nehemiah 8:10) and to fill our mouth with laughter and our lips with shouts of joy (Job 8:21). Our happiness and joy come from our close relationship with, and serving, God and others.
Reaching for the Stars
Sometimes we are always “reaching for the stars,” chasing new shiny objects, seeking that ever-elusive “happiness” because we think happiness is “out there” somewhere, when happiness is right in front of us – in the faces of our beautiful children, in the conversation we’re having with our spouse right now, in a beautiful sunset or the colored fall leaves, in simply being alive.
>Don’t wait until later to be happy
Life is a precious gift from God. Each morning we arise, there should be a prayer of thanks in our hearts ascending to God, that He’s given us a new day to live and to glorify Him…and to be happy now, not later.
It’s right in front of you
Let’s not get so caught up in trying to find happiness through our own pleasure or entertainment, success in career, business or ministry, more money or material goods, or accomplished to-do tasks that we neglect to enjoy the moment of happiness right now before us.
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we’d have a pretty good time.”- Edith Wharton