Summary: How can we be happy in spite of our circumstances? Joy stealers. How can I be happy?
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Introduction: We all have opportunities everyday to get upset and to go around frustrated. I hear people say, “I would be happy if my spouse treated me better. I would be happy if I got a promotion. I would be happy if my children behaved well.” Then there are circumstances that hinder our joy – A traffic jam, failure, hurt etc. There will always be something that can steal our joy. Amid the ups and downs of life do you live hopeless and sad in life or does God's joy sustain you?
Title: Cheerful Countenance!
I want you to understand that that God wants you to be happy no matter what your condition.
Psalm 144:15 Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.
Proverbs 15:13 KJV A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.
Proverbs 15:15…. but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Joy is something that comes out from the inside that affects the countenance of a person. So no matter what happens to me I will always have a good spirit, no one can steal my joy.
As look into this matter of happiness, many of you are thinking, “Pastor you do not know my situation, I can never be happy.” You see the joy that God promises is in the midst of our trials. We will always have to deal with joy stealers in our life.
Stress: Everyone has their own stress in life and we need to learn to cope up with them without losing our joy. Stress causes people to be irritable, short-tempered, sleepless etc and we need to learn to deal with stress. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
People: All of us, at one time or another, have had our joy threatened because of people — what they are, what they say, and what they do. Maybe someone misunderstood you, maybe someone is criticising you, they are always judgemental, finding your fault, and your joy is sapped out.
Past or future: Sometimes we are haunted by the thoughts of the past. It may be regrettable events of the past; mistakes or the wrong decisions made in the past that can haunt us. Isaiah 43:18 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
Then there are some others who always worry about the future. They have no joy today because they are tensed about what is going to happen tomorrow. Ecclesiastes 7:14 When times are good be happy, but when times are bad consider God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.
Circumstances: Every day we come across circumstances that can steal our joy. Maybe somebody is rude to you, somebody cut you off in traffic, your child forgot the tiffin box and now you have to go back to school, you are already late to work.
Facts of happiness.
a. Happiness is not absence of difficulty.
Life is hard. Looking back, life was difficult at times for me. Job 5:7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. So trouble comes with life. The world is filled with trouble. So life brings with it sickness, problems, hurt, and disappointment. So when we talk that God wants his people to be happy, that is not an absence of difficulty.
b. Happiness is not denying your condition.
It may be that as far as the things of this life and this world are concerned you may be totally empty. Maybe your doctor has told you that you have a sickness, it is fatal. You may be going through a failure or a sorrow. So I am not speaking that you psych yourself up into a position where you can see yourself without worry or problem.
Joy and happiness is something far deeper and greater than that, something which is available in spite of your condition. Habakkuk 3:17-18 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
How can I be happy?
It is how you look at my life.
Proverbs 15:30 The light of the eyes (How you see things) rejoiceth the heart:
Matthew 6:22 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.