HOW TO LIVE A HAPPY LIFE
1. Are most people happy? Dennis Wholey, author of Are You Happy reports that according to expert opinion, perhaps only about 20 percent of Americans are truly happy.
2. Why is it that most people are not happy? I think I may know the answer to that question.
3. People look for happiness in all the wrong places.
Some time ago, a man and his son decided to find out the secret to happiness. So one day, they turned on their computer, booted up a search engine on the Internet, and typed in the words “true happiness” hoping they would find the answers.
However, after several minutes of searching, the computer said, "No documents match the search." In other words, the computer indicated that true happiness could not be found in the world.
4. The reason why most people are not happy is that they look for true happiness in worldly things. The Bible teaches that worldly things cannot bring us true happiness.
a. Money cannot bring us true happiness.
(1) When making money becomes the number one priority in our lives, we will neglect God, our families, and ourselves, and it will cause us much heartache. Money does not bring us happiness, it simply provides for our needs.
Jay Gould, an American millionaire, had lots of money. However, when he was dying, he said, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
(2) Material possessions cannot bring us true happiness.
(3) If true happiness could be found in material possessions, then most of us in America should be delirious with joy and happiness beyond description. We should be producing books and poems that describe our state of unparalleled bliss. We should be walking around with constant smiles on our faces and telling others how happy with are.
(4) Instead, we find those who have a lot of material possessions have a high rate of divorce, suicide, depression, child abuse, and other personal and social problems beyond description. All this is surely proof that happiness in not found in material possessions.
(5) Since worldly things cannot bring us true happiness, then what does?
THIS MORNING, I WILL PRESENT THREE PRINCIPLES ON HOW WE CAN LIVE HAPPY LIVES.
I. FIRST, TO LIVE HAPPY LIVES, WE MUST GIVE OUR HEARTS TO THE LORD AND RECEIVE HIS SALVATION.
1. When we receive salvation, and deliverance from the bondage of sin, we should experience joy and happiness. Like Isaiah, we should shout aloud and sing for joy.
2. When Jesus Christ enters into our lives, we cannot help but to rejoice. Do remember what the Ethiopian Eunuch did after he gave his life to Jesus and was baptized? The Bible says that he “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).
As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy, which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life.
They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians—and I am one of them.”
3. There is joy beyond comparison in being a Christian. Henry Ward Beecher once said, "The strength and the happiness of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too."
4. If you are a Christian, then you know the joy that I am speaking of, however, if you are not a Christian, you are missing out on the joy of life. Become a Christian this morning, and experience not only the forgiveness of your sins, but also the joy that accompanies it.
II. SECOND, TO LIVE A HAPPY LIVES, WE MUST FOCUS ON RIGHTEOUS THOUGHTS.
1. How can we continually be joyful?
2. Paul in (Phil. 4:8) explains to us the secret?
3. If we want happiness, we must fill our minds with lovely, pure, admirable and praiseworthy thoughts.
4. If we want to be happy, we must think happy and uplifting thoughts.
5. For most of us, however, our inner dialogue doesn’t consist of positive thoughts it consists of a stream of negative, critical, angry, self-blaming and defeatist thoughts. When we engage in these negative-thinking patterns, we squeeze out the joy and happiness in our lives.
Harry Perry was told he was dying of leukemia, so he threw in the towel and started to act as if life was over. He quit his job, ruled out marriage, spent thousands on treatments, drank heavily, and spent most of his time alone. He was waiting to die, but he might as well have been dead already. Harry’s life was empty, even though he wasn’t dead. As a matter of act, he wasn’t even dying.
About 5 years after the initial diagnosis, another checkup showed that Harry did not have the disease. He has since then married, bought a home, and quit treatments. He feels great.
Nothing has actually changed except Harry’s attitude. When he thought he was dying, he set a course of self-destruction. When he learned he wasn’t a victim of leukemia, he set a course of happy living.
6. The application to this story is that some of us may be physically alive, however, mentally dead, meaning our negative attitudes are quenching our spiritual joy. We if want joy and happiness, then we must change our attitudes.
III. THIRD, TO LIVE HAPPY LIVES, WE MUST PURGE ANGER FROM OUR HEARTS.
In the movie Forrest Gump, there was a scene that has one of the central characters, Jenny, returning to her old home after her father has died and the old farmhouse is broken-down and abandoned.
As she reflects on the sexual abuse that she endured as a child, she is overcome by rage and begins throwing rocks at the house. Jenny finally falls to the ground in exhaustion and the scene closes with Forest Gump philosophically saying, “Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.”
Many of us struggle with anger. It can stem from a variety of reasons and some anger seems very justifiable. Yet, unresolved anger leaves us reaching and crying out for more rocks. The rage is never satisfied and happiness squeeze out of our lives.
1. Brethren, through the power of the Spirit of God that is living in us, we can find the strength to lay down the rocks of anger and forgive those who have hurt us.
2. If you are harboring anger and bitterness against someone, then it is time to let go of it and forgive.
3. Once you let go of the anger and bitterness that has been festering up in your life, the sunshine of joy will rise up again and bring happiness back to your life.
1. To live happy lives, we must have a relationship with the Lord, focus on righteous thoughts, and purge anger from our lives on a daily basis.
2. If we do these three things, then we are on our way to living joyous, bright, and cheerful spiritual lives.