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The Secret of Joy
In the year 1900 a survey asked, "What must you have to be happy?"
Results showed 72 answers.
The same survey was taken among the same size sampling in 1950.
Results showed 496 answers.
I wonder how many results there would be today?
Our world is in a mad pursuit of happiness. Just go to the bookstore and look at all the books on fulfillment and finding the good life.
It's not an improper goal, but we need to raise the bar a bit. We need to get back to the Bible, and learn how to find real joy.
Happiness is based on external happenings [happenstance / circumstances]
Joy is internal and abiding, and rooted deeply.
Most seek their fulfillment in people, places, and things.
People - If only I could have a certain relationship, or be accepted by the right crowd, then I could be happy.
Now, it's important to have the right kinds of friends, or to marry the right person, but people are not a permanent source of happiness.
ill.--the prominent theme of love songs today is, "My life is worthless/meaningless/has no significance without you"
This statement should be made about none other than Jesus our Savior! Your life can be significant and full of joy and meaning even if you have no one apart from Christ.
ill.--Paul teaches us in 1 Cor. 7 that even if you go your whole life unmarried, you are not a second class Christian or an incomplete person. This is because we are complete in Christ!
People change, people leave, and people die.
How about things?
"If only I had some things that others have, then I could be happy."
ill.--Nightline's Ted Koppel confronted Tammy Fay Baker about her lavish spending and she said, "When I am depressed, spending is my therapy. Buying things makes me happy."
What an awful message to send to the lost world!
Things lose their luster, and you lose the joy. There's always a newer model car, a great gadget invented ... and do you have your iPhone 13 yet?
The Bible says that all this material world will one day go up in flame!
How about places?
If I could live in that area or that house or have that job, then I could be happy. And maybe I'd be happy in another church, I mean, I've been here for a few years already and it's old now!
These people never find happiness in places. Do you know why? Because everywhere they go they take themselves with them! It's an internal problem.
v. 22 The world didn't give us our joy and the world cannot take it away. Places can't, people can't, nothing can!
Let's go to Philippians 4
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Paul wasn't laying on a beach when he wrote this, no one was fanning him with a palm branch or feeding him grapes. He was in a dungeon.
"Yeah but, he hasn't been thru what I've been thru." You're right, he went thru much worse! His back was bleeding and covered in scars from 5 times being beaten with 39 lashes. 3 times with a stick. He had been stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, betrayed, and was mocked and maligned by most of his world.