Summary: A sermon that helps us to see the true path to happiness in life.
“Happy, Happy, Happy!”
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know whether you have noticed it or not but there is a new phrase that entered into our collective consciousness. Happy, happy, happy has become a favorite of people from all walks of life. Of course this phrase has been popularized by the patriarch of the Robertson clan from the popular series, Duck Dynasty! Phil Robertson uses this phrase at least once in every episode or so it seems. Phil has a wonderful Christian testimony which includes narrative about his college career at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana. Phil was the starting quarterback on the football team and made the decision to change the direction of his life. His backup in those days was a young man named Bradshaw who later went on to win several super bowls with the Pittsburg Steelers. Phil became a Christian sometime later and God has blessed him and his family so much so that this phrase, “Happy, happy, happy,” has become his signature statement. That brings me to my next thought. I don’t know about you but I have observed something over the last few years that is worth noting. It is this; now more than ever there is a great amount of interest in learning how to be happy. Now I noticed this first when I listened to the content of the preaching (if you can call it that) of some of the televangelists on cable. Some are connected to mega-church ministries and others are primarily media driven but they all seem to have one thing in common. They spend their time trying to teach people how to be happy. Since we are in a consumer driven church economy it appears to me that the law of supply and demand is at work. There is a demand for this and these TV preachers supply. I also found a very interesting bit of information on a website call Forbes.com. Last year there were 13.5 million types of self- help books sold, a 22% increase from the year before, according to Nielsen Book Scan. Another interesting side note is that the majority of these books were sold to women who are presumably unhappy with their lives and are looking for answers!
Years ago there was a country song entitled, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places,” well it’s not a stretch to say that millions are looking for happiness in all the wrong places.
Tony Abram: “Happiness of heart can no more be attained without God than light and sunshine can be had without the sun. Happiness is heavenly born; its aroma is of heaven; it leads to heaven and its emblem is heaven. On every side, in every part of the universe men and women are seeking happiness and cannot find it because they do not seek it from God.”
There is a book which many haven’t tried yet. It’s not a new book. It’s been around for a while but it’s still the all-time best-selling self-help book out there and it’s called the Bible! All the help you will ever need can be founds within its pages. The Apostle Paul shares his formula for achieving this elusive dream called happiness and it is surprising to see how simple it is. The first truth regarding happiness Paul speaks of involves:
I. A Backward Look – The Past
a. Our dependence – “Brethren, I…”
If you haven’t learned this truth yet you need to understand that our happiness in life depends on us, on own our attitudes, actions and aims not someone or something else!
b. Our danger – “…what is behind…”
The danger of looking back is that of going back.
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 17:32 Remember Lot's wife.
Mark this down my friend, you will never find happiness if you live in the past.
c. Our decision
The word “forgetting” means to lose out of mind or to be forgetting and carries with it the idea of deliberation. That is, we deliberately choose a course where we leave the past in the past. We choose not to live in the past!
II. A Forward Look – The Prospects
The truth of the matter is that we are either progressing or regressing.
Exodus 14:15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: