The Place of Happiness!
By Doug Cox
There are a lot of places that make me happy. To name a few I’m happy when I’m with my family, it doesn’t matter where. I’m happy sitting at the table spread with my wife’s wonderful home cooking or on a road trip with her. My comfortable bed has a way of putting a happy smile on my face after a long day. I’m happy being at church every Sunday with our church family as we lift our voices to sing songs of worship to our loving Lord, to encourage each other in the faith and I’m happy sharing His word or listening to someone else share it as well. The list of places that make me happy could go on.
The problem is places of happiness can diminish. As families grow and get older, everyone gets busier and quality time together gets rushed. It diminishes when you realize you can’t eat the way you used to and be healthy, a delicious meal then becomes more torturous than pleasing to the ‘hangry’ belly and when worries climb into bed with you at the end of a hard day. But wait, happiness still comes every Sunday when I offer my best in worship to the Lord, when I share the Good News of the gospel of Christ and receive encouragement from others who are on this faith life journey with me.
Churches aren’t perfect though. People get hurt and wounded and live behind a mask. Sometimes we see doublemindedness, lack of faithfulness and must endure people who are judgmental of everyone but themselves. The list of happiness thieves can be long. We must remember that true and lasting happiness doesn’t come from a place but a Person.
As we go into the New Year let’s remember that the Lord says to us, “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20) These were the last words Jesus spoke after His crucifixion and just before ascending into heaven. This is a promise to all who will listen today. For many who live with a legalistic belief system this can be very intimidating, because even the best and well behaved of Christians fall very short of the mark of perfection. To them happiness is dependent on looking at their own performance and therefore is like being on a teeter totter.
To be blessed beyond expectations and happier than we deserve we should try focusing more consistently on Jesus and why He came. Maybe we should employ the words of the Apostle Paul to help us stay connected to the one Who brings true happiness. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
Remember Christ the Lord came to save us from our sins and knew very well that we would fail over and over. Yet He loves us. He came that we might have life and life more abundant. (See John 10:10). I’m convinced He is more interested in helping us through life than judging every move we make in life. I believe as we learn to recognize and make His presence the focal point of our daily living, the pieces of our life will fall better into place and temptations will become fewer. Jesus can make every moment of our life more meaningful and give us a better chance of having a Happier New Year.