Summary: This message is based on the fruit of the spirit It concludes with some practical guidelines to help you discover joy in your life.
Finding Joy in Life
Dr. Marty Baker
June 30, 2002
This week our nation will be celebrating Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, a group of 56 patriots banded together and adopted the Declaration of Independence on. They penned these words:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Ever since then, we have been on a national quest to find happiness. Where do you find happiness? Or better yet, what does it take to make you happy?
Psychology Today once polled 52,000 Americans and asked them what happiness meant to them. For some, happiness was simply paying the bills, finding a mate, having children, raising a family, having a good job, financial security, or good health. What about you?
Most people consider happiness to be having the right circumstances develop in your life. Did you know that the word happiness comes from the old English word happ, which literally means “chance.” It corresponds to the Latin fortuna, which means “luck.” These words suggest that if things happen the way we want them to happen, then we are happy. But if they do not happen the way we want, we are unhappy.
This past week I discovered what most of you already know, “When Moma ain’t happy, nobody is happy.” On Monday, my wife Patty had a dress show in Atlanta and I had the kids. I thought, “what can we do that we normally do not get to do.” The thought hit me, "It’s peach season. Let’s head across the river and load up on some South Carolina peaches."
Edgefield County is the peach capital of the world. It produces more peaches than any other county in America. We embarked on a journey to Peach Paradise. We ended up at one of the packaging plants in Johnston. We watched the peaches as they traveled down the conveyer belts through quality control and ultimately into boxes to be shipped across the country. The workers on the assembly line separated the prime peaches from the blemished and overripe peaches. They took the bad ones and placed them in a water flume that carried them to another part of the plant. Thousands of peaches go through this flume every hour.
After watching this process, we were given a five gallon paint bucket and instructed to kneel down by the flume and fill it up overripe or blemished peaches. We were on a mission. Each one of us had our own bucket and we went to work. We filled each bucket until it overflowed with peaches. In fact, in one bucket I had 97 peaches. Do the math: 97 peaches times four buckets. Yes, we carried home close to four hundred peaches. We paid the cashier; loaded up the car and ate peaches all the way home. We continued eating peaches all afternoon and did not put a dent into our supply.
When Patty got home, the sink was filled with peaches, the kitchen counters were filled with peaches; the refrigerator was filled with peaches and Patty was filled with anxiety. She was not happy with the peach parade. She said, “Marty, what are you going to do with all these peaches?”
I usually have answers to her questions, but at that moment I realized that whatever explanation that I could give would not be sufficient to explain why we have almost four hundred peaches. All I could say was “We could give them away.” Her response was, “When?” At that moment I knew that “Moma wasn’t happy with our field trip and if Moma ain’t happy, nobody is happy.”
There several things about happiness that I was reminded of this week. Happiness is external. It depends on what happens to us. It focuses on our outward circumstances. Happiness is based on chance. If you are lucky, you can find happiness.
This morning I want to talk about something much better than happiness, and that is, joy. The Bible says that we can have joy.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Last week we began our summer series entitled, "Being the Best That You Can Be". This is a series based on Galatians 5:22-23 which is commonly called the fruit of the spirit. These nine fruit are character qualities that will enlarge our lives and open us up to a new way of living.
Last week, we focused on Becoming a Loving Person, today I want to concentrate on Finding Joy in Life. I believe that joy is an inner power that allows us to have a good attitude even when things are not going our way.