Summary: The secret of finding joy in life is looking in the right place and looking in the right person, God.
The Journey of Joy
September 3, 2001
I. The Road to Happiness
A. Construction on the highway: We have all seen more than our share of highway construction. Lots of heavy equipment rearranging the terrain, moving earth and removing old pavement. It causes long delays at times and traffic gets backed up. It has become accepted as one of the headaches of traveling
B. A bright idea: In one construction area, here in Ohio, there was an unusual amount of tension. The motorists were becoming hostile and the workers were frustrated. So, to resolve this tension one worker resorted to some humor and purchased bumper stickers for the heavy equipment. They all said the same thing: “The road to happiness is almost always under construction.”
C. Human happiness
1. The pursuit of happiness
a.) The bill of rights states that we have the right to pursue happiness
b.) We are lost in the pursuit of that which we cannot find in simple ways
2. Ways that we search for happiness
a.) Our society is always searching for new ways to gain happiness
1.) We think that happiness comes from situations or things
2.) I’ll be happy if…
I had more money
I had the right job
I do the right things
I had someone who cared about me
b.) We may have the right to pursue happiness but that does not mean that we will find it
II. The secret of Happiness
A. Where is happiness?
Not in unbelief --
Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."
Not in pleasure --
Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure, if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone."
Not in money --
Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."
Not in position and fame --
Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood, a struggle; old age, a regret."
Not in military glory --
Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept, because, he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
B. The secret is no secret
1. We have become so busy looking for joy that we miss it completely
2. The secret of happiness is finding the true source of joy
a.) Happiness isn’t found in the things of life or in situations that may benefit us
b.) Happiness is source in the joy that comes from God
I. Faith brings real joy
23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. 28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, 29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 30 Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. 31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"
B. The power to enjoy life
1. Sidney Harris Quote – The most miserable people I have known have not been those who suffered from catastrophes- which they could blame on fate or accident –but those who had everything but the power to enjoy life
2. Enjoyment in life does not come from things or experiences because things will pass away and experiences will fade
C. True Joy
1. True joy does not come from the things that life brings.
2. The source of joy is eternal not temporal
a.) Joy is based in a relationship with Christ
b.) The only way to have joy is to have a right relationship with God
3. Garrison Keillor – Some people think it is difficult to be a Christian and to laugh but I think it is the other way around
4. The love of Christ is our well of joy
a.) The love of Christ can bring joy when even the worst of life hits us
b.) We see joy happening in the oddest of places in the New testament
After being beaten Peter and John rejoiced
While in prison Paul and Silas sang praises to God