We are all born with a hole inside of us, and we try everything to fill the void. Today, we have more access to “stuff “than ever before. With technology, everything is now at our fingertips (sometimes literally thanks to iPhones). Automation has taken many responsibilities off our plates. We can even order our groceries online and pick them up as easy as a coke from a drive-through! Making things easier on ourselves is a common goal. We don’t want to be uncomfortable or to spend time on mundane tasks. Freedom over our time and instant gratification are two things we have come to almost expect.
But Romans 14:17 says: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Eating, drinking, buying, numbing…all of those things we do to increase our happiness. It sometimes works for a short period of time, but it always fades.
So why do we continue to feel unhappiness in a world that seems to be built on making us happy?
To begin, we must define happiness. Many believe it has to do with how much you have. But time and time again people who travel to third-world countries are shocked when they see happiness and contentment on the faces of people in poverty. If that’s the case, then possessions must not have anything to do with happiness! There has to be something else…
The word that stands out to me is the word “joy.” You see, joy is supernatural. That’s why we can have the fullness of joy with the presence of the Lord beside us, even with chaos all around us. Think about Paul and all that he experienced in the Bible– prison, flogging, persecution, affliction — and yet he still managed to write about his joy in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Those books are used 2,000 years later for all of us to learn that finding joy during the hard seasons IS possible!
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” –Philippians 4:12
If people in poverty and imprisoned Paul can be happy, why can’t we?
1. We must learn to work from the inside out.
Happiness is something we can choose for ourselves by deciding to be fueled by the Lord rather than possessions. It’s a matter of the heart and mind being in the right place. We can’t always control what the media feeds us, but we can control our response. Focus inwardly and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the joy that’s found in the Lord. When we are filled with God, there’s not room for the other things that sometimes suck us dry.
2. We must stop the envious feelings of comparison.
There is always someone out there who wants what you have and there is always someone out there who has what you want. Take your focus off of others and wrap yourself in gratitude for what you have and who you were created to be. As the saying goes: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
3. We must replace guilt and shame with hope.
Sin can sometimes spiral into feelings of guilt and shame when we don’t allow God’s grace to redeem us. But, THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD GIVES US HOPE! We must choose to remember hope instead of wallowing in our shame. Hope makes room for happiness and joy. It gives us that glimpse of light in the darkness, and we have to walk toward that light.
Try these three things to move in the right direction toward happiness! For an even better understanding of unhappiness, watch these videos.
“If you’re unhappy today, get it right with God!” –Jackie Carpenter
Tell us in the comments…what is the first step you need to take to find happiness again?