As I am reflecting on the bible study that we had this evening with our small group, I decided to reread the first chapter of Philippians. So I began with the "Introduction" that my NIV Life Application Bible offers on the first page of Philippians.
It begins by saying that the WORD happiness brings us visions of various things in our minds such as unwrapping gifts on our birthdays or on Chirstmas morning, vacationing with our loved ones, etc. "EVERYONE wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal of a lifelong pursuit: SPENDING MONEY, collecting things, and searching for new experiences." (L.A.B.) - all of this in which I am envisioning in myself and thinking...so? Doesn't God want us to be happy and He blesses us with so much, right!?!
Then I read on..."But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, the newness wears off and the party's over?" - (UH OH...but don't we all see this in our own lives? In our friends' and families' lives?)
"In CONTRAST to happiness is JOY. Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God's love and work in our lives - that he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but JOY DEPENDS ON CHRIST." (L.A.B.)
Okay, so why am I writing a blog about THIS? Because, as I was reading this I had to stop and ask myself how am I living MY life? Am I "CHASING" happiness or am I focusing on the Joy that Christ brings to my life? Hmmm..
As a believer in my Lord and Savior I can have profound contentment, serenity, and peace...NO MATTER WHAT "happens". So if I am focusing on chasing my own happiness, I am depending on myself and my own strength in life, which isn't much might I add! If I am focusing on chasing the JOY in life, I am depending on HIS strenth instead of mine! *SIGH*
Now, as I am sinking lower on my couch in shame...over our purchase of a silly camera that I "HAD to have" and I was so "HAPPY" when we got it, I chased happiness so fast and so far that it ended up RIGHT on the credit card. WHICH, doesn't God want us to NOT be in debt? UGH, then today I realize that I wouldn't have "needed" that camera had I been focused on the fact that God calls us to find Joy in Him and that in order to have that, I need to not rely on what I have or what happens to me, but on Christ within me!!! In other words, the old camera would have worked just fine if I had stayed focused on finding Joy in Christ...not happiness in a toy from my favorite electronics toy store.
Okay, just a personal confession that I am NOT focused on living my life in all areas on my Lord and Savior, and if I were...then THAT is where my contentment would come from!
As a side note, I do not think it's bad to be excited and happy over purchases and gifts...as long as that is not where your source of happiness in life comes from. The JOY in your life MUST come from God! Through Him ALL things are possible...even the most unimaginable, most ideal life situations are ONLY possible...through Him!
Oh goodness...and I haven't even started with Philippians Chapter 1 yet!!!
2 hours ago