Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A message meant to encourage Christians to have a more positive outlook on life rather than live in the negative all the time.

A Merry Heart Does a Body Good…

Various Scriptures

July 22, 2007

I’d like to think that I’m overall, a pretty positive guy.

I like to joke around, I like to laugh, and I try not to take myself too seriously.

But every now and again I have to stop and wonder if I really am that positive of a guy.

I tend to worry about stuff, even though Scripture says we’re not supposed to. I have my bad days, and sometimes I’d rather just roll over put the pillow over my head and stay in bed.

But overall, I think I’ve got a pretty positive outlook on life.

I think that we’d all like to have that, right? I’m not sure I’ve met anybody who’s purpose in life is to be sour about everything.

“God’s put me on earth for the sole purpose of making everybody’s day a lousy one. And boy, I’m good at it!”

Some people are sour about everything, but I doubt they set out to be that way.

I’ve always been of the opinion that Christians should be the most joyous people around.

Not because they never experience pain or heartache, but because they understand that life isn’t defined by circumstances, but rather life is defined by who we belong to.

I’ve mentioned before that happiness depends on circumstances but joy depends on our clinging to Christ in spite of circumstances.

I believe that Christians have the most to be joyous about, the most to celebrate, the most to laugh about, the most to enjoy about life.

Why? Because Christians have access to all the good God has for us, and a shelter from the bad the world has for us.

We spent the last four weeks looking at how to handle conflict between believers and what to do if it needs to involve others in the church.

Last week I talked about why we can’t be people who allow unforgiveness and bitterness rule our hearts. And I mentioned that these things poison our spirits.

They not only affect our relationships with those we refuse to forgive, but it poisons our enjoyment of life in general.

It’s hard to go through life and enjoy it when you are angry and bitter toward someone.

On the other hand, as you will see in the message, God wants us to be joyous and merry people.

Being joyous and merry is good for us. It’s completely the opposite of bitterness.

So my hope for you today is two-fold:

1. That if anyone here is not experiencing the joy that God wants for us to experience, that you will find new-found freedom to do just that.

2. That the rest would find some ways to enhance that enjoyment.

We’re going to look at a few Scripture passages, and they are all in your note-taking guide.

This is obviously a bit of a departure from what we’ve been doing by walking through the gospel of Matthew, but I think you’ll be okay with it.

I’m operating with the mind-set that says God wants us to enjoy life, and that He makes it possible.

So with that in mind, I want us to look at six ideas to help you either gain a merry heart or help an already merry heart become even more so.

Here’s the first one.

* Remember the source of life: Jesus.

John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

This passage is really at the base of where I get my thoughts on this.

Jesus wants us to have a full life. And who wouldn’t agree that a full life should be an enjoyable one?

Can you think of anyone who thinks that a life of bitterness and rage is a full one the way Jesus describes it?

I think I can safely say that the full life Jesus wants for us – indeed died to give us, is not one defined by bitterness and unforgiveness, but rather one that enjoys the blessings of God, His Word, and His people.

When you think of the phrase, “full life,” do you think of the negative right away? Highly doubtful. Rather, we think of a “full life” as a positive, joyous thing, right?

I hope so. Jesus wants you to have a full life – and abundant life. And the source is Jesus.

Here’s the second idea:

* Resolve to look for the positive whenever possible.

This doesn’t mean that you ignore the negative or pretend that everything’s all right when it’s not.

But you refuse to let the negative define you.

I was talking to my father-in-law last night, and we got to talking a little bit about this message, and this point.

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