Summary: How do we find happiness? Paul gives us some fantastically good advice! For the non-formulaic (that’s me!) this is as close to a formula as you get!
The secret of happiness. Phil 4:4-9 WBC 19.03.06am
Well- another fantastic passage this morning. Tonight is ’the secret of contentment"- which is slightly different
- and I don’t want to be a hypocrite, this morning. I’m not saying this is something I’ve got sussed. Sometimes I’m a good example of ’how to be anxious about everything’. But maybe you’ll take comfort from that (that we don’t need a 3rd loo!)…and that we can journey together on this
o and that the word has power to speak- even when (esp when?) it comes through a clay vessel with cracks
- mind you: getting there! And certainly feel like rejoicing, laughing and having peace since I got prayed for last Saturday! (more later)
The secret of happiness
Pam sent me this: Scientific Study
This just in....
A study in London showed that the kind of "male face" a woman finds
attractive can differ depending on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle.
For instance, if she is ovulating she is attracted to men with rugged,
masculine features, and if she is menstruating she is more prone to be
attracted to a man with a heavy pair of scissors shoved in his forehead.
The first secret, from here, is
Paul says it twice, so he must really mean it
- and he says it while he is in prison, they are in persecution and two (or more of them are rowing)
o in fact: maybe this is the remedy for Euodia & Syntyche
o "You’re falling out over little things! Well- rejoice in the big things: what God has done"
… that’s what ’rejoice in the Lord" means
- it means that humanly you might not be able to rejoice… have much to rejoice about- BUT YOU’VE GOT THE LORD!
o Jesus loves you! He’s saved you! He is with you! He will never leave you! You have family! Future! A faith!
It might be that you have forgotten to do that! Forgotten what He has saved you from!
- well then- no wonder you are reaping what you sow! You have forgotten one of the secrets of happiness. The Bible says
o rejoice! Rejoice!
o Ps 118:24 "this is the day that the Lord has made… we will rejoice and be glad in it"
So, rejoice...Things could be worse! ( I said, cheer up, something worse could happen.. so I cheered up and sure enough something worse did happen!) Even if it does- so what, I’ve got Jesus!
- in fact- this is the victory that overcomes the world!
Illustr: Kathy F re that programme on happiness in Slough. The happiest folks were the Christians! Neglected to say that was why they were happy!
We neglect to rejoice in our culture. In wartime, they didn’t. Biscuit sales went up. Christians of the past didn’t
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Well- isn’t this just PMA, you say? Psychology. Yes- but it is also God’s psychology. Christian psychology- and more. A principle God has built into the world. It’s fabric. He has designed us to find the secret of happiness in Him, not our circumstances
You may ask- but what of the world? How can I rejoice with the world as it is? Wouldn’t that be denial?
- well. Disengagement with the world is the last thing I want!
- Illustr: issue in CS Lewis book I’ve read "how can we study beautiful poetry and art when WWII has just started?" Conclusion- we have to! Man has always lived on the edge of extinction/war! It’s just it’s on our doorstep at the mo… and some of the greatest poetry was written in WW1 trenches
- And Jesus said "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with d the anxieties of life". The poor you will always have with you- but that mustn’t stop you appreciating me! Now! Mt 26:11
We are called to be workers in the world, and do all we can- but we must not get a messiah complex. This idea that we can save the world or it all rests on us.
- if we do, we drown, ourselves, and then what use/example are we to others? Our ’gentleness is not evident to all’
- Jesus is the only saviour of the world
Secret one: Rejoice. Rejoice. Because of Jesus
2- GOD’S PRESENCE- GET IT!
But the truth is- get God’s presence and your gentleness will be evident to all. And you will feel different, too
You ought to know- I don’t base my life on feelings (though I am a man who feels things deeply). I have learned to walk by faith and not sight or feelings. Perhaps I am more of a disciple, now, than I ever was as I increasingly do things, now, because they are right- not because I feel ’led’ or inclined.