This essay is a based on Timothy Keller’s sermon The Search for Happiness: Modern Problems, Ancient Solutions. We hope his sermon can help build your Right Mental and Emotional Attitude for your life.
Timothy Keller. Source: ChurchLeaders.com
The Renaissance period trained us to think that human reason, and empirical investigation will solve all the problems and mysteries of life.
But does it?
If Science and Technology advanced our civilization and made our lives more comfortable, why do we still suffer great injustices and inequality?
Science and Technology will never give us Real Happiness because they solve physical problems and mysteries.
So how and where can we find Real Happiness?
Real Happiness comes from GOD. Since happiness is a positive attitude in Spiritual Life, we must learn and live out the Bible’s teachings to achieve joy and peace. We must have a strong relationship with Him, especially during difficult times, because He can lead us out of our troubles and challenges.
So how can we apply this to our Spiritual Life and become truly happy?
Timothy Keller shares four principles on how to achieve Real Happiness in Psalm 1.
Psalm 1 shows us how to have a Positive and Mental Attitude in our Spiritual Life.
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way[b] of sinners,
nor sit in company with scoffers.
2 Rather, the law of the Lord[c] is his joy;
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted near streams of water,
that yields its fruit in season;
Its leaves never wither;
whatever he does prospers.
4 But not so are the wicked,[d] not so!
They are like chaff driven by the wind.
5 Therefore the wicked will not arise at the judgment,
nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.
6 Because the Lord knows the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.
PRINCIPLE 1: Real Happiness Is Possible and Achievable.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked – Psalm 1:1
Tim Keller explains that you can achieve real joy.
In this verse, blessed means to be joyful, fulfilled, and content.
But happiness is a choice you make.
You can view your world as a half-full, not half-empty.
4 Types of People That View Happiness:
1. Children: Those who believe that happiness is natural.
As children, we believe that being joyful is natural. Remember the joy you had when you played in the rain as a kid? It was fun, wasn’t it
But as we grow up, we begin to realize that being happy is not as easy as we thought.
As our mind grows in our teenage and adult years, we become jaded by the challenges in our life. We struggle with our finances, our relationships, and our own dreams.
As adults, we need to become child-like to become thrilled with life again.
2. Cynics: those who believe that happiness is unachievable
As adults, we become too focused on our daily responsibilities, and forget to enjoy the moment.
Many of the most intelligent, and most successful people become the most cynical in achieving happiness. They are miserable because they rely too much on their logic and achievements.
3. Drifters: Those who drift between being child-like and cynical.
These people depend on their circumstances and mood to find happiness.
They are delighted in a healthy relationship but are distressed when single.
They are confident when they have a lot money but are depressed when they are broke.
They will never be joyful because they rely on their mood and circumstances to be blissful.
4. Righteous People: Those who have Real Happiness, regardless of their situation and environment.
Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. Source: Diocese De Sao Jao Del Rei
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. – Psalm 1:1
Righteous Men believe that we can be truly happy while living in the chaos and tragedies of this world.
How can they not be miserable when they are in bad situations?
They avoid two common mistakes.
PRINCIPLE 2: Real Happiness Begins With GOD.
Mistake #1: People seek happiness in their circumstances and external factors.
Th Cynics and Drifters will never have joy because they base their joy in their circumstances and environment.
The Cynics reject any sip of joy because they only believe in what they see in front of them.
The Drifters base their happiness on the season, not GOD. So they will always between pleasure and misery.
So how do we avoid this ?
Truth: Real Happiness comes from within you, from GOD’s Love.
The Righteous Man is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers. – Psalm 1:3
Real Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.
Righteous people have the right mental and emotional attitude towards hardships.
They are like a tree planted that experiences different seasons. Like everyone else, they experience hardships and challenges.
What keeps them going is there strong relationship with GOD.
They are the tree that is planted near a stream of water, where it constantly gets its nourishment, even in the worst droughts.
Your bad times are a test of your faith in GOD.
Sources: Dale Carnegie, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” From QuoteSayings.net
Even when they suffer, Righteous People always draw from the Living Water: GOD’s love, wisdom, grace, and guidance.
St. Peter’s says:
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:6-7
You can cry when you suffer tragedies and hardships. You are human.
But you should never despair. GOD LOVES YOU.
Many of us are suffering in this COVID – 19 pandemic. I was laid off at the start of this world crisis. This dark period taught me to appreciate the little things in my life: family, friends, my house, food, and basic necessities. My suffering made me go closer to Him.
So how can you find happiness within yourself, during difficult times?
Instead of focusing on your pain, look beyond your suffering and circumstances and keep GOD close to your heart. Keep praying and have a stronger relationship with GOD. The more endure your circumstances, the more you must draw Living Water from GOD.
Cast all your problems, worries, and fears onto Jesus.
Let Him carry your burdens for you. Releasing this weight is your test of faith.
Your faith begins where you cannot see and where your logic ends.
Once you feel lighter, then you can truly enjoy your life with GOD.
PRINCIPLE 3: Real Happiness Comes From God. Come and Get It.
Mistake 2: We Seek Happiness Directly
True Happiness is always a byproduct of seeking something more than pleasure.
If you seek pleasure more than righteousness, you will get neither.
Miserable people pursue pleasure for its sake. But this is a wrong attitude.
When you seek a successful marriage only, you will never have it.
When you chase money, you will never catch it.
Instead, anxiety will kill you.
You will never have joy because you based your well-being on external factors.
So how do you have happiness if you should not chase it?
Truth: Seek GOD first, then you will find happiness.
Righteous People are joyful by not trying to be happy.
If you seek to have holy life with GOD more than pursuing bliss, you will get both.
Seek something greater than yourself: GOD.
GOD is committed to give you Real Happiness.
GOD is NOT a means to your happiness.
Do not command Him to give you what you want. If you do so, you are worshipping a false GOD. He is not your butler.
GOD knows what is best for you. He will help you out of your mess. But let Him take of you HIS WAY.
PRINCIPLE 4: Happiness Comes To Those Who Love and Serve GOD
Rather, the law of the Lord is his joy; and on His law he meditates day and night. – Psalm 1:2
Delighting in His Law is not just about obeying the Ten Commandments. It is thinking and living out all the Bible and Jesus’ teachings.
Put GOD First in everything, at all times.
Missionaries of Charity of Singapore. Source: AsianNews.IT
You need to pursue something greater than yourself.
After loving and worshiping God, your number one purpose should be your mission to serve Him.
What will keep you going, in these difficult times, is your strong faith and love for GOD: through your thoughts, words, and service for your neighbors.
Sources: C.S. Lewis. From SermonQuotes.com
You deserve to be happy because GOD wants you have real joy – forever.
As we face more challenges ahead, let us turn to GOD for His love, wisdom, and guidance. We will have Real Happiness in loving Him while serving our fellow neighbors.