So what does it mean to be happy? That is a good question.
Well the accepted idea of happiness is this: having the right circumstances. It’s “when and then” thinking. “When I get out of school, then I’ll be happy.” “When I get a job, then I’ll be happy. “When I get married, then I’ll be happy.” “When I have kids, then I’ll be happy.” “When the kids leave home, then I’ll be happy.”
Now the classic chapter on the search for happiness is Ecclesiastes 2. Solomon the writer of this book here in verse 1 said (GNT), “I decided to enjoy myself and find out what happiness is.”
So if you want to save yourself a lot of time, go home and read Ecclesiastes 2. In it Solomon said, “I tried it all and I found three dead ends: accumulating things, experiencing pleasures, achieving success. They were all dead ends and those are the three things we spend our life trying to get. He was the wealthiest, he had all kinds of pleasure and he was the most successful man of his time.
Can you feel what he is feeling in verse 17 (NIV)? “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
The accepted idea of happiness is having the right circumstances. But GOD’s way to happiness is having the right attitude.
Now over in Matthew chapter 5 we have the opening lines of JESUS’ famous Sermon the Mount, 8 positive statements about happiness called the beatitudes.
Now in these statements JESUS is saying that you can learn to be happy in spite of your circumstances. If you have to have all of your problems solved before you become happy, will you ever be happy? No. If you have to have everything perfect in your life before you’re happy, will you be happy? No.
The point of these statements is my happiness is not determined by what’s happening around me, but rather by what’s happening in me.
So JESUS is saying that it’s not how much we have, it’s what we are that makes us happy. Happiness does not depend on the external, the atmosphere outside; it depends on the attitude inside. It is not determined by external circumstances; it's determined by my internal attitude. These are the be-attitudes.
Happiness is a choice. You choose the right attitudes. Basically right now, whether you’re happy or sad, or somewhere in between, you’re about as happy as you choose to be.
You see life is tough. It is and there are a lot of things that don’t go right and don’t go your way in life. Happiness depends on choosing the right attitudes.
Just a thought from the front porch…