Summary: Developing a biblical frame of mind for the New Year that will produce true happiness.
How to Have a “HAPPY” New Year
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
We have grown very accustomed at this time of the year to use the familiar greeting, “Happy New Year!” I sometimes wonder if we really give any serious thought to what we mean when we use this phrase. Happiness is usually defined according to situations (happenings) and goals in life. In other words, happiness is different things to different people. For example, happiness may be defined as:
Hearing your dentist say, “No cavities this time.”
Having someone else pick up the check.
Finding your son’s room picked up.
Hearing your husband say, “Can I help you with the dishes?”
Having your in-laws cancel their stay with you.
A proposal you thought you’d never get
Losing that weight
Happiness is such an elusive thing and also very difficult to define. That’s because it could be linked to varying experiences such as, success, good grades, a raise, a bonus, retirement, etc., etc.
PERSONALLY, I VIEW HAPPINESS AS BEING A FRAME OF MIND. Happiness, like so many things in life is a CHOICE! It/s being able to “cope” with whatever comes our way. It’s living the a live of victory, rejoicing in all things.
If you want a biblical example of a truly happy man in this sense, then I present to you as “exhibit A,” the Apostle Paul. He was an amazing, God-controlled man. But this kind of person, like all champions, are generally made, not born. Paul didn’t become the man he was by accident. At least e words characterized his life, and these same 3 words will help us discover how to have a “Happy New Year.”
These 3 life-changing words are all found within the Scripture passage read this morning:
These are the words that describe what made Paul tick. Let’s look at each of them carefully.
Whether Paul was mending tents, or writing a letter to a church, or preaching to a crowd in the marketplace, he was driven by one all-consuming purpose and that was to know God (v.10).
In season and out of season, consciously and subconsciously, Paul relentlessly pursued this dynamic purpose. He possessed a deep desire to not merely know about Jesus but to know Him intimately.
His purpose was very much like that of King David, who prayed as found in Psalm 42:1: “My soul followed hard after thee, O God.”
Maybe Paul’s reason for such a driving purpose had to do with his conversion experience.
Disraeli, the former prime-minister of Great Britain, said, “The secret of success is consistency of purpose.” Too often our purpose in life changes from day to day. But not so with Paul. He knew why he was going.
Let me ask you: What is the all-consuming dynamic purpose in your life?
I remember how I felt as a young man—before I came to know Christ. I had no real purpose or direction in life. I’ll tell you what—there’s no contentment in that! Only uncertainty and frustration.
The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and costly tombs ever built, but there is something fascinating about its beginnings.
In 1629, when the favorite wife of Indian ruler Shah Jahan died, he ordered that a magnificent tomb be built as a memorial to her. The shah placed his wife’s casket in the middle of a parcel of land, and construction of the temple literally began around it. But several years into the venture, the Shah’s grief for his wife gave way to a passion for the project. One day while he was surveying the sight, he reportedly stumbled over a wooden box, and he had some workers throw it out. It was months before he realized that his wife’s casket had been destroyed. The original purpose for the memorial became lost in the details of construction.
Dr. James Dobson, Coming Home, Timeless Wisdom for Families, (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton; 1998), p. 122
When you know where you’re going and why—what a difference. To have a purpose—a spiritual purpose in life—you well on your way to experiencing a happy life.