Summary: Happiness is the product of practicing certain disciplines that make us like Christ.
Series: Be Happy
Title: Happiness Through…
Text: Psalm 103
Truth: Happiness is the product of practicing certain disciplines that make us like Christ.
Aim: To encourage the church to practice these disciplines to experience God’s happiness.
Ruth Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, told the story of Alexander Grigolia, a brilliant but unhappy immigrant to the United States from Soviet Georgia. He was struck by the demeanor of the man who shined his shoes. One day, looking down at this man who worked cheerfully and enthusiastically, and considering his own misery, Grigolia asked, “Why are you always so happy?”
Surprised, the man said, “Jesus. He loves me. He died so God could forgive me my badness. He makes me happy.”
Grigolia said nothing in response but could not escape those simple words. Eventually he came to faith in Christ, became a college professor, and had a strong influence on his students, one being future evangelist Billy Graham. We could not imagine the impact that one shoeshine man, happy in Jesus, has had for the kingdom of God.
There’s a wealth of truth in the shoeshine man’s response to being happy. He found the true source of happiness—Jesus. The man believed he was loved by God and forgiven of sin. For this he was grateful. This brings me to the third message on happiness.
Previously I’ve said the Bible teaches that God is a happy God and we’re called to be godly. Therefore the followers of the true God are to be happy. Next we talked about the reality of the power to choose. Abraham Lincoln was right: we are as happy as we choose to be. At no time have I said it is easy or quick, but it is possible with the power of the Holy Spirit. Today I want to talk about the means through which we can become happy followers of the joyful God.
I thought about pointing to the Bible’s teaching on basic spiritual practices which connect us to God: Bible study, prayer, regular church attendance, witnessing, etc. The joy of the Lord is impossible if we are not finding our way into God’s presence through these basic spiritual disciplines; it starts there. But there are other spiritual disciplines that are important, too. Happiness is the result of practicing the spiritual disciplines of truthful self-talk, forgiveness, and gratitude.
I. HAPPINESS THROUGH TRUTHFUL SELF-TALK (PSALM 103:1-2)
The Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37 says we are to love God with our heart, soul, MIND, and strength. Our spiritual lives and intellectual lives are not separate. With estimates of 10,000 thoughts passing through the human brain each day, 70,000 thoughts per week, and 3.65 million peryear, of course our thoughts have a powerful influence on our happiness. Jesus knew the power of the mind. He insisted that what you are on the inside is what you become on the outside.
The Bible is filled with examples of good, godly, and truthful self-talk and sinful and destructive self-talk. An example is found in Psalm 103 which says, (1)My soul, praise the LORD, and all that is within me, praise His holy name. (2) My soul, praise the LORD, and do not forget all His benefits.”