Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

Created for joy, created for happiness

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Created for joy, created for happiness

 

Scripture reading: Galatians 5:22.23“But the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

 

We were created to be happy – our lives are to be full of joy.

 

Sin has marred this and instead of being happy, people are struggling with depressions, unhappy feelings – living with or experiencing large share of unhappiness.

 

Instead of joy, people are full of sadness, grief and stress.

 

It is the purpose of the gospel – God’s plan of salvation to bring back this lost quality of life into our lives.

 

Yet many Christians walk about with sad faces, unhappy hearts and troubled minds.

 

Some suggest that life of a Christian means bearing the cross and since this is tough and it hurts – how can you be happy, cheerful and joyful experiencing so much pain?

 

Others point to Jesus – the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, taking on Himself the woes and pains of humanity – are we not here to imitate His life?

 

Yet Jesus spoke of being happy – His 1st public sermon – Sermon on the Mount, starts with blessings pronounced on certain attitudes of mind and heart: “Blessed and happy are the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure in heart, the peace makers, yes even those who mourn and suffer for righteousness sake, or are persecuted…”

 

Come on! Those who mourn? That makes no sense! How can you mourn and be happy or joyful at the same time?

 

It is true – we cannot avoid sadness, pain, tears and weeping, they have their place in our life. Yet they are to be a relatively short periods in our healing and maturing process, rather than a lifestyle habit. Listen to this – Psalm 30:5:

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

 

Tears wash away our sadness and clear our spiritual perceptions – by the way, how long can you continually cry?

 

In Bible’s message sadness, pain, weeping and crying are remedial tools that help heal sorrowing hearts and therefore should not be suppressed. They eventually lead us to introspection, evaluation and acceptance of reality and a decision for coping strategies.

 

Above all, we are led into the arms of Compassionate, Understanding and Caring God, who dries our tears, binds our hurts and comforts us in our sorrow, suffering and pain.

 

2. Corinthians 1:3.4. – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comforts, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

 

Illustration 1: Story of my mother after my dad had died. sorrow turned to hope and today my mom is a happier and more stable believer

 

Illustration 2: Bulgaria, where death notices after the death of a loved ones hang on every corner for years (on people’s front doors, public places), where many people continually re-live the loss of their loved ones.

I have noticed that many of these people are very sober, almost depressed, with sad, gloomy faces…

 

Yet our text in Psalm 30:5 tells us, that painful experiences of life, disappointed hopes and shattered dreams are not a pattern for living. Tears prepare the heart for joy!

 

They are an unavoidable part of our life, yes, but if we relate to them right they may be:

 

-        turning points in our life focus helping us in growing up process

-        turning points in developing our inner strength and quality

-        developing in us compassion for other hurting people

-        bringing us into much closer relationship with God

-        beginning to understand pain of God over our shattered world

-        realizing the uncertainty of earthly blessings and longing for eternity with Jesus

 

Romans 8:28 NIV“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

 

It could be said, that marred hopes, disappointed dreams, great losses and shattered lives place us in best possible situation to re-evaluate our whole life, come true with ourselves and others and find new direction toward some exciting new horizons.

 

If we don’t get blinded by our tears where we see no hope, no future and no solution to our situation, we can see a new and exciting path opening before us.

 

Illustration 3: When only 17 year old, Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers. He must have felt that was the end of all his hopes, plans and dreams.

 

Yet it was the beginning of the most fantastic future, beginning to make his dreams come true. Through his tears and sorrow then, he couldn’t see God’s hand leading him in direction of blessings few mortals have ever realized!

 

It is my conviction, that greater our encounter with suffering and pain – that much more multiplied and greater will be our experience of happiness and joy.

 

Look at a person who in life experiences a little pain, virtually no suffering, no disappointments and hurts and you will generally see a shallow, superficial, bored, moody and fickle individual, insensitive to others’ pain and sorrow.

 

Most people seek happiness and joy in things, places or as coming from other people.

 

All these things are and can be a source of additional joy and happiness.

 

Yet these things are not the source of lasting joy and happiness.

 

Jesus taught that our happiness and joy while in this imperfect world do not depend on external circumstances, on what we “get out of life”.

 

Our joy primarily depends on internal state of mind, on our attitude.

 

But above all it depends on our close union and companionship with God through Jesus Christ. He is the main and only lasting source of our joy.

 

John 15:11.12. – “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.”

 

Live in God’s love, abide in Jesus, live by His word and your joy will be full.

 

Jesus does not chastise us for being sad and sorrowful, He does not reproach us for weeping and tears – these things have remedial part in our lives.

 

In God’s plan, pain and sadness is like a short melancholic prelude before a long symphony of joy. I cannot but think of Bach’s song “Ode of joy”. Oh may this Divine joy break into your lives like a spring of fresh running water!

 

May the Holy Spirit develop that fruit in your minds and hearts!

 

For all those who have been born again by the Word of God, by the Spirit of God, they are to be filled by that Spirit and bear that fruit of love and joy, spilling that contagious atmosphere around them.

 

Are you feeling downcast, sad and heart sick?

 

Open your heart to Jesus and open your heart and life to others who may need your encouraging words or your friendship. And let go of unforgiving attitudes and memories!

 

Allow Jesus to banish from your hearts these blockers of joy and happiness:

 

-        thoughts of self-pity

-        critical spirit

-        revengeful, unkind thoughts

-        nurturing past hurts and resentments toward others

 

Replace them with Christ’s generous Spirit. You may be healthier for that too, for according to Proverbs 17:22:

 

“A merry heart (happy, joyful, rejoicing mind) does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”

 

Decide to open your heart to God’s Spirit of joy and learn to cultivate happy, optimistic and grateful outlook on every situation.