Happiness And Humility

“I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be.” Philippians 3:12-13

Humble people are happy people. They never stop growing and learning. 

The Bible says, “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith . . . Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it” (2 Corinthians 13:5-9).

Do you give yourself regular checkups? Try this: Wake up every day and ask God, “What do I need to work on today?” This takes humility, but it’s a habit that will lead to happiness.

Paul knew the importance of humbly growing and learning. He wrote in Philippians 3:12-13: “I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be”.

When Paul wrote this Scripture, he was an older man in prison in Rome. He was at the end of his life. He was an incredibly mature person. Yet he said he hadn’t arrived. If anybody had the right to say, “I’ve arrived spiritually,” it would be the guy who wrote so much of the New Testament. But Paul said, “No, I haven’t arrived. I’m still growing, learning, and becoming more like Christ.”

Pride is the trap that so often keeps Christians from following Paul’s example and continuing to grow in Christ. Why? Because when you think you’ve got it all together, you won’t make an effort to become more spiritually mature. Humility, on the other hand, leads to happiness because it makes you teachable.

Happiness and humility go together because they cause you to ask, “How can I be a better spouse? How can I be a better friend? How can I be a better boss? How can I be a better follower of Jesus?” When you aren’t asking these questions, you’re missing out because you’ve stopped growing and God made you to grow.

Take a step toward happiness today by humbly praying Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”.

You’ll Find Happiness As You Get To Know God

“For my determined purpose is that I may . . . progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly.”bPhilippians 3:10

Happiness is found in getting to know God a little bit better every day. 

In Philippians 3:10, Paul said, “For my determined purpose is that I may . . . progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly”

Paul became “deeply and intimately acquainted” with God because he had a relationship with him and took the time to get to know him. He understood the difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing someone and Paul wanted to really know Christ.

You don’t become “deeply and intimately acquainted” with God by accident. You don’t just wake up and accidentally fall into a relationship with Jesus. As Paul says, it’s a “determined purpose.” It’s something you have to do something about. You have to invest your time in it.

One trap that can keep you from getting to know God better is busyness. Just like busyness can destroy your relationships, it can destroy your relationship with God. 

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God”.

To grow in your relationship with God, you need to make time for him and “be still.” Just a few minutes of focused time every day can make all the difference in the world. I’m not talking hours and hours but 10 or 15 minutes each morning. Only then will you, like Paul, begin “understanding the wonders” of God with greater clarity.  

Make this your daily prayer: “Lord, if I don’t do anything else today, I want to get to know you a little bit better and I want to love you a little bit more.” As you pray and live this out, you’ll begin to experience greater happiness in your life.

Know What Counts And What Doesn’t

Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:8

Every day when you wake up, you need to remind yourself of what counts and what doesn’t count. Don’t be distracted by things that are insignificant and petty.

Why is it important to remind yourself of what matters? It’s easy to lose your joy over some small thing. In fact, it’s usually the small irritations not the big issues that cause you to lose your happiness. Somebody cuts you off when you’re trying to make a turn, and you lose your happiness. The clothes you put on don’t fit anymore, and you lose your happiness. It’s the little things that sometimes affect people the most, and yet they don’t really matter.

Paul said in Philippians 3:7, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done”.

What was the most important thing in your life before you met Jesus Christ? Was it your career? Making money? Maybe it was getting a date or being popular. 

Paul said all those things are “worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Here’s a good question to ask when you’re distracted by worthless things: How much will this matter in 100 years? Many things won’t even matter tomorrow, much less for eternity. All the things you used to care about don’t even compare to the joy that comes from having a relationship with Jesus

When you become a Christian, Jesus changes your values. You no longer want to do the things you used to do. He changes your “wants.” 

When God comes into your life, you learn the joy of knowing Jesus. And that’s what really counts.

Legalism Robs You Of Happiness

“I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” Philippians 3:9

Realizing there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more is one of the most liberating feelings in the world and it is a key to happiness.

The Bible says, “We Christians glory in what Christ Jesus has done for us and realize that we are helpless to save ourselves” (Philippians 3:3).

Each time you forget this truth and think you’ve got to somehow earn God’s love, that’s legalism and it robs you of happiness.

Legalism is trusting in what you can do for God instead of trusting in what Jesus has already done for you. It’s following a list of rules and regulations to prove yourself worthy, and it’s a trap that keeps you from relaxing in God’s grace.

Paul knew how to relax in God’s grace. He said in Philippians 3:9, “I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ”. In other words, the way you earn the love of God is this: You don’t earn it. It’s not about your performance; it’s about his pardon.

How do you know when you’re being legalistic? When you’re being legalistic, you’re often judgmental of other people. That’s because it’s easier to be critical of others when you don’t feel accepted and loved yourself. Why would you want other people to feel good about themselves when you don’t feel good about yourself?

On the other hand, how do you know when you’re living by grace? When you’re living by grace, you’re gracious to others. You find it easier to forgive because you recognize that God continues to forgive you. And since you’re not trying to earn your way to heaven, you can relax.

Every morning, remind yourself of God’s grace by praying, “Lord, today I am reminding myself that I’m completely forgiven.”

The more grace you live by, the more joy you’ll have.

The Power Of Grateful Prayers

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace. Philippians 4:6-7

In Philippians 4:6-7 you’ll find one of the most difficult teachings to obey in the entire Bible: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace”

It’s not easy to stop worrying about the often-scary, everyday parts of your life, but God tells you how. He says you should pray about everything and thank him for all he has done. Grateful prayer brings peace. God says that, when you start to worry, you should pray. 

Parents understand the power of grateful prayers. Most parents wouldn’t appreciate their children always making requests and never saying “thank you” for the things they’ve received.  

God sees it the same way. He is waiting for you to ask him for what you need and want. More than 20 times in the New Testament, you’re told to “ask” him. But he wants you to ask with gratefulness.

The Bible urges you to be specific in your requests and in your praises. Instead of a simple “thank you for everything,” God wants you to tell him what you’re grateful for.

Something that can require an even bigger step of faith is when you thank God in advance. When you have the faith to thank God ahead of time before you can see how he’s working miracles happen.

The more thankful you are, the more God will work in your life. The Bible says that God inhabits the praise of his people. He uses your thanksgiving as an instrument of power in your life.

So, take a moment now, and tell God everything you’re grateful for.

Have Gratitude In All Circumstances

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In many cultures around the world, people set aside certain days or seasons for giving thanks.  But God wants you to be intentional about your thankfulness every day. He wants you to develop this spiritual habit, one that is reflected in the life of a radical believer. The more deeply you understand God’s love, the more grateful you’re going to be.

What does it mean to be radically grateful?

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. In every circumstance give thanks because it’s God’s will for your life. That’s radical gratitude.

How can you be thankful even in difficult circumstances? You can thank God in every circumstance because he is in control. He can bring good out of evil. He can turn around the worst mistakes you’ve made. No matter what happens, God isn’t going to stop loving you.

You can find a hundred things to be thankful for in any circumstance, even when the circumstance stinks.

Radical gratitude being thankful in all circumstances is God’s will because it creates fellowship. What do I mean by that? Gratitude always builds deeper relationships between you and other people and between you and God.

If you want to get closer to someone, start expressing gratitude to that person. Maybe you’re feeling distant from your spouse. You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling because you stopped doing the things that created that lovin’ feeling early on and now you take each other for granted. Start doing what you did when you were dating: Express gratitude. Write little notes of kindness and encouragement. Call or text during the day, just to tell your spouse that you’re thankful for them.

Do you want to build your small group? Don’t just go to your gathering. During the week, contact the people in your group. Say, “I’m grateful for you, and here’s why.” You’ll find that the more grateful you are for your group, the more your group will bond.

Let us “enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5).

To Be Happy, Learn To Collaborate

You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.” 1 Corinthians 1:10

Happiness isn’t a matter of luck; it’s a matter of learning. To live a happier life, you need to learn how to work well with others. 

I call this the skill of collaboration. It’s an important skill not often taught in schools, but when learned, it can exponentially increase a person’s happiness. 

What do you need to learn in order to work well with other people?

First, learn to cooperate with others. The church in Philippi sent a man named Epaphroditus to help Paul while he was in prison in Rome. Philippians 2:25 says, “I feel that I must send Epaphroditus my brother, coworker, and fellow soldier back to you. You sent him as your personal representative to help me in my need”.

By calling Epaphroditus his brother, coworker, and fellow soldier, Paul was using three relational metaphors that represent teamwork. Life together is a family, a fellowship, and a fight. Epaphroditus was a team member. He didn’t shut himself off from the world and become a lone ranger. 

As believers, we are in the same fight together against Satan, so we need to cooperate with one other—no matter how different we all are. The best place to learn how to do that is in the church.

Second, learn to be considerate. Paul mentioned Epaphroditus again in Philippians 2:26: “He has been longing to see all of you and is troubled because you heard that he was sick”.

Notice how Paul used two examples of consideration: Paul was considerate of his coworker’s homesickness, and Epaphroditus was considerate about the Philippians’ concern. 

When you learn to be considerate of other people’s needs, fears, and doubts, you’ll be a happier person. For instance, if you are considerate of your spouse, you’ll have a happy marriage. But if you’re not thoughtful with your words and actions, you’ll have an unhappy marriage.

The Bible says, “You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

“Cultivating a life in common” takes work. Like a garden that requires cultivation to bear fruit, you’ll see how your effort bears the fruit of happiness and strong relationships.

Trustworthy People Are Happy People

Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat refreshing!” Proverbs 25:13

If you want to be happy, become a person who people can trust.

Paul used Timothy as an example of someone who was reliable, consistent, and dependable: “You know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel” (Philippians 2:22).

Paul had seen Timothy in action, in all kinds of circumstances, and he considered him genuine and trustworthy. Timothy had proved to Paul that he was someone who could be counted on.

Do people know what kind of person you really are? Have you been proved trustworthy like Timothy?

Any time you go to a bank for a loan, they’ll do a credit check. They want to know if you’re worthy of being trusted with credit. Do you pay your bills on time? Do you have a track record of keeping your word? Can you be depended on to pay the money back? Are you creditable?

The thing is, everyone around you is doing a credit check on your life, every moment of your life. They want to know if you are who you say you are. Are you showing your true colors? Can you be trusted?

When you prove that you are a trustworthy person, you’ll be a happier person. People will know you’re reliable, and, as a result, your relationships will be stronger.

How do you develop a reputation of trustworthiness?

First, you live with integrity. Integrity doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It means that what people see is what people get. You are the real deal because your actions match your words.

Proverbs 25:13 says, “Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heart refreshing!

Second, you keep your promises. Even if you find out it’s going to cost you more than you thought it was going to cost you, you still keep your word.

Psalm 15:4 says, “They always do what they promise, no matter how much it may cost”.

Learning to live with integrity and keep your promises will show others that you can be trusted and will in turn make you a much happier person.

Faith Produces Resilience

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Faith unlocks the promises of God and it shows us the power of God and it turns dreams into reality and it gives us the power to hold on in tough times. 

But faith doesn’t always take you out of the problem. Faith often takes you through the problem. Faith doesn’t always take away the pain. Faith gives you the ability to handle the pain. Faith doesn’t take you out of the storm. Faith calms you in the midst of the storm.

I remember reading the stories of Corrie ten Boom, a young Dutch Christian who helped many Jews escape the Holocaust before being sent to the Nazi death camps. She said that the people who lasted in those camps were those who had the deepest faith. Why? Because faith gives you the power to hold on in tough times. It produces persistence.

Study after study has shown that probably the most important characteristic you could teach a child (and that you need in your own life) is resilience. It’s the ability to bounce back. It’s the ability to keep going. Nobody goes through life with an unbroken chain of successes. Everybody has failures and mistakes. We all embarrass ourselves. We all have pain. We all have problems. We all have pressures. The people who make it in life have resilience.

Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to resign as A Faith blogger?Just about everyday I go, “God, it’s too big. It’s too many people, too much responsibility. I’m not smart enough. What am I supposed to say to reach that many people. Get somebody else who can do a better job than me.”

Yet God says, “Keep going.”

Where do you get the resilience to keep going? Faith. It’s believing God could do something any moment that could change the direction of your life, and you don’t want to miss it, so you keep moving forward. It’s believing that God will give you exactly what you need when you need it as you learn to rely on him to accomplish his purpose in you.

This is the testimony of Paul, a great man of faith: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

The Starting Point For Happiness

Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”Philippians 2:4

If you truly want to be happy in life, you’ve got to care about the needs of those around you and move the focus away from yourself. That’s the starting point for all happiness.

Paul looks to Timothy as an example of someone who genuinely cares about others. Philippians 2:20-21 says, “There is no one like Timothy for having a real interest in you; everyone else seems to be worrying about his own plans and not those of Jesus Christ”.

Most people don’t get up in the morning and give their first thought to how someone else is doing. They’re often only concerned about their own problems. And that’s why so many people are unhappy with their lives! Thinking only about yourself eventually leads to misery.

If you want to be one of those rare, unselfish, happy people, you need to change your focus.

Putting your focus on others doesn’t come naturally. Most people don’t walk into a room and think, “Who in here needs my help today?” Instead, you think, “How do I look? Am I put together just right? What are people going to think of me?” So you have to intentionally train yourself to do the opposite of what you normally do to shift the focus away from yourself.

Philippians 2:4 says, “Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand”.

Instead of dwelling on yourself or grieving missed opportunities, spend your energy thinking about how others are doing. That’s where you’ll find happiness in serving God through serving others.

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