Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand true happiness.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John, Chapter 15, verse 11.
Brothers and sisters, in today’s broadcast we discuss the true concept of happiness. Happiness is a concept that is familiar to most of us, but the true meaning of happiness eludes all but a few. So few people discover true happiness because “The highest happiness is indissolubly linked with spiritual progress. Spiritual growth yields lasting joy, peace which passes all understanding. Exactly what is happiness? Is happiness getting what we want and getting it now? Is happiness the result of our having the right people around me? Is happiness something that is done for us? Does the Father in heaven want us to be happy? Yes, he does. Then why are so many us unhappy? Is anything of true value ever lost? If the answer is no, then why are we so unhappy when we sustain a loss? Why are we unhappy when people we love mistreat or forsake us? Why are we so unhappy when it looks as if things are not going to go the way that we planned or hoped?
In the temporal life, our happiness springs from material realities. There are material things in this temporal life that bring much joy to our life, but because they are temporal and material, they are not lasting. If we truly want to be happy, to have lasting happiness, then we must look to the spiritual realm where all those values and meaning reside that are indestructible. As Jesus said, speaking of divine values and meanings, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where nether moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” But we must have a starting point for laying hold upon this spiritual happiness, and the starting point is material happiness.
We first develop a concept of happiness by observing that certain transient situations that appear our lives cause us to feel good, to feel joy and a certain sense of satisfaction. These situations are usually pleasurable. They stimulate our emotions, but their effects are not lasting.
We begin to think within ourselves that if we could prolong these kinds of situations, we would be happy all the time. Thus we embarks upon that noble but disappointing task of trying to extend and maintain those transient situations. But trying to build anything, much less happiness on something as fleeting as emotions is doomed to failure. It is a fact that most human beings judge whether they are happy by the way they feel.
Experience teaches us that the way we feel is constantly changing as our internal and external environment change, be it physically, intellectual, or social. Our emotions are no more than a barometer of our reactions to our environment. We are familiar with the elation that we feel when we buy something new. It is a very strong response initially, but rapidly falls off. We are also familiar with how joyful we feel when we enter into a romantic relationships with such high hopes for the future, but how sad we feel when the joy fades, and we are often left with the unanswerable question of what went wrong. As the song goes, “You lost that loving feeling, and its gone, gone.” We are also familiar with how badly we feel when we are blamed for something we are not guilty. It is obvious that we cannot use emotions as our standard of happiness. They are too fleeting and unstable. They are inaccurate and immature, and not a true indicator of our true status. Our true status does change in response to our emotions. We must pick a new standard by which to judge the state of true happiness. We must pick a standard that does not change, but remains constant.
Happiness must be redefined: Happiness is the state that we realize when we appreciate the satisfaction that results from righteous living. The standard of happiness must be righteousness, so if we live righteously, then we are happy. The secret of acquiring spiritual happiness is wrapped up in the technique of doing the Father’s will. And for the knowledge of the technique of doing the Father’s will, we must look to Jesus, the personal revelation of the Father’s will. Jesus revealed that the heavenly Father loves us unselfishly and unconditionally. He said that if we obeyed his commandment to love one another as he loves us, then our joy would be full and complete. Nothing would be able to steel this joy away from us. He and the Father would come and live in us, and this is in of itself the greatest joy that we can know. By abiding by his command, abiding by the Father’s will, we would enter this spiritual kingdom where we receive access to those divine values and meanings that are inherently joyous. As we lovingly serve one another, so do the values and meanings of these acts manifest themselves.
Now since this happiness is separate from material happiness, how does this spiritual happiness manifest itself in our life? Especially how does it manifest itself during the winter times of life. Spiritual happiness manifest itself as a deep abiding inner peace and satisfaction. It is anchored to hope that blossoms in our life during the winter times of life. “. . . such spirit-led mortals say: `The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.' `A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked,' for `a good man shall be satisfied from within himself.' `A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance and is a continual feast. Better is a little with the reverence of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred therewith. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without rectitude.' `A merry heart does good like a medicine.' `Better is a handful with composure than a superabundance with sorrow and vexation of spirit.'
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In the life of Jesus is revealed the secret of true happiness, and his instructions are not grievous: “Love one another as I love you.”
This concludes today's message on understanding true happiness. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.