Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)

A couple of years ago, TIME.com came up with an article with the title, “The Secret to Happiness.” It is obviously an intriguing one which I ended up clicking and reading.

In the article, it gives us very interesting research to consider:

“Scientific research provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it’s pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.”

What scientific research reveal to us only validates what Scripture articulates. Paul the apostle tells us to not look only to our own interests but also to the interests of others.

A Chinese saying goes like this…

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

Genuine joy is found not in getting what we want but in helping others get what they need. St. Francis of Assisi was quoted saying, “For it is in giving that we receive.”

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your Word. I am grateful that Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I repent for being selfish and thinking only about myself. Teach me to choose others and not just prefer myself. The easiest thing to do is to want what’s best for me. Your Son Jesus gave sacrificially and selflessly placed others before Himself – for in that, we found our salvation. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

 

“I deserve to be happy.”

As a pastor, I’ve sat down with many people and heard this statement countless times.

Is it possible that we have set our sights on the wrong goal?
We have interchanged the goal and the result.

Hebrews 10:10 says, “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”

1 Peter 1:15. “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”

God’s goal for you is not your happiness but your holiness.
Now because you are pleasing God, then one of the possible results of that is your happiness.
But that’s not that goal.

How does this translate to life, then? I’m glad you asked.

Paul says in the book of 2 Corinthians to make it our goal to please Him. Therefore, our pursuit of holiness goes beyond just being in church. Gospel driven holiness is applied in the office, your campus, at home, in the kitchen, while driving, or while in the mall.

The result may or may not be happiness. The one sure result that the fruit of the Holy Spirit brings is the fruit of joy. This goes beyond circumstances and happenings (same root word as happiness).

God is working not to bring ease and comfort to you but to bring growth and maturity.
And in that, there is unspeakable joy.

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“I don’t feel joyful today!”
“I feel miserable this morning.”
“I just want to sulk in my cave.”

Did you know that you can choose joy?

When we wake up in the morning, we can choose to be joyful or choose to be miserable.

That’s the main difference between joy and happiness.

Happiness is hinged on ‘happenings’. But joy is so much deeper.

It is not based on a circumstance but on a Person.

Jesus said, “I’ve told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, GWT)

There will be trouble in the world. But in the midst of trouble, there can be peace and joy.

Those 2 (peace and joy) are not dependent on WHAT is going on in your life but on WHO is in your life.

This is the very reason why it is your choice to rejoice – you have a relationship with the One who created the heavens and the earth. And this Creator is your Father.

A few reasons why I can choose joy? (There’s about 10 of them.)

I am God’s child. John 1:12
I am a friend of Jesus Christ. John 15:15
I belong to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I have been forgiven of all my sins. Colossians 1:13-14
I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1-2
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:28
I cannot be separated from the love of God. Romans 8:31-39
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me. Philippians 1:6
I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

We spend a lot of time desiring every little thing we don’t have rather than rejoice on every huge thing we do have in Christ.

Choose to be joyful today.

It’s your choice to rejoice.

This question has been asked time and time again.

It’s a valid question that deserves a valid answer.

Different people approach it in different ways.

… Getting an upgrade for their iPhone 4.
… Finding a relationship that would make them feel significant.
… Relaxing through a nice movie with people you enjoy being with.
… Eating chocolates and ice cream. (haha, that’s me!)
… Receiving a promotion at work.
… Finally conceiving and having their first baby.

The list goes on and on and on AND on.

The problem though, which I myself have discovered, is that it doesn’t last very long.

Soon, there’s a new upgrade
… the relationship you’ve longed for isn’t working out so well.
… the movie didn’t turn out as nice as rottentomatoes.com says.
… you feel bad because the chocolate and ice cream gained you a few more pounds (haha, that’s me again)
… the promotion was great but soon enough, you want a better job.

Satisfaction seems elusive. Contentment becomes noncommital.

I was reading Colossians 2 this morning and it all went back to the basics of life.

Sin has always and will continue to be the problem.
Greed. Pride. Lust. Selfishness. Doubt. Unbelief.
These will continue to plague us unless we deal with it.

“But how”, you may ask.

Listen to what the Apostle Paul says,

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)

Key thoughts on this…

1. YOU WERE DEAD

Sin has a way of ending life.

2. BUT GOD MADE US ALIVE.

“BUT GOD…”

Two amazing words.

Only through Jesus can this happen. He is the resurrection and the life. Whatever is dead in your life, He is able to make it come back to life.

3. HE FORGAVE US ALL OUR SINS

The greatest need of man today is not more stuff, more friends, or more money.

The greatest need of man is to be forgiven.

We owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
He paid a debt He didn’t owe.

 4. HE CANCELLED THE CHARGES AGAINST US.

Imagine if you were in debt 20M pesos. Then the bank says, your debts have been cancelled.

How would you feel?

Our debt was more than 20M pesos. It was going to cost us our very life… life in hell for eternity.

5. HE NAILED OUR SINS ON THE CROSS.

The offended paying for the offense of the offender?
Unheard of.

But it was done.

 6. HE DISARMED THE POWERS AND AUTHORITIES.

There’s stuff we don’t see. There are those happening behind the scenes we don’t observe with our naked eyes.Jesus disarmed all these. No longer do these have power over us.

7. HE TRIUMPHED.

We are no longer victims but victors.
We are no longer whiners but winners.
We can now believe burdens to become blessings.
We are able to turn trials into triumphs.

All because of Jesus.

Jesus.
Yup, Jesus.

To feel good?

Well, that’s not the right question to ask.

Ride in the wave of His grace.
Nothing you can do but all about what He has done.

Feelings will just follow.