2002-04-02 - Being Happy
Psalm 73:25,26 Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I have a cat, Sass, who passes gas when she is happy. Seems strange, but it is quite worse than strange. However, I'm not writing about being happy because of Sass. I am writing about being happy, because I am not happy. I worked a 36 hour shift, had eight hours off to go to church, and then worked a 16 hour shift. Come Monday morning, I really needed sleep when I got off work at 8am. Part of my job is to sleep where I work, but no one bothered to tell me that painters would be outside my windows, talking, playing music, and scraping all morning. I could have gone somewhere else to sleep and my ire is that no one bothered to notify me. I am tired and grumpy and such feelings can do one of two things, drive me from God, or to God. We best look at God's Holy Word.
"Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful," James 5:11. I guess that takes care of that. How can I be angry about painters when I think of Job or those who have endured trials faithfully and submitted to God's will? I can't. It seems petty. It seems sinful. "He who gives attention to the word shall find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord," Proverbs 16:20.
"Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise Thee, O God, my God," Psalm 43:4. We find our happiness in God. In fact, this verse goes further, in it David calls God, his, "exceeding joy." When we seek happiness anywhere else but in the Lord we are setting ourselves up for a let down. We might get a fleeting moment of pleasure, but true happiness is found in no other place than being in God's will. As Romans 14:17 tells us, we find our joy in the Holy Spirit, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." In Cabbe's Synonyms we find the statement that gladness is more than a simple tranquil feeling. It needs no outward expression because it can be enjoyed in secret. Real happiness among the children of God is no different. It can be expressed outwardly or enjoyed in private.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, rejoiced in God (Luke 1:47). This is the nature of Children of God. They praise God for His mercy and kindness to them and find happiness in who He is. We can even boast of our confidence in Christ, Hebrews 3:6. Similar to a school house bully who flashes his muscles to show his confidence, so we have an even stronger confidence in Christ. We are not to be "spiritual bullies," but we are to know and believe the security and eternal happiness that we have in Jesus Christ.
There is, even, in Scripture a hint of taking joy in what we do in service to Christ. There is an inward testimony of having a good conscience that should be a source of happiness for us. "But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another," Galatians 6:4. But this verse can only be taken in the context of Christ and what He has first done for us. Our works truly are as filthy rags compared to the Work of Christ in His Atonement. "All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment," Isaiah 64:6.
So now I am happy and, sadly, I need to apologize to someone for laying into them about not letting me know the work schedule of the painters. It is rare that I lose it and at least I avoided cursing, in fact, I was cursed at in response to my ire. But Christ would have me absorb things better and I have learned today how far I am from Christlikeness. But growth in holiness is a process and I encourage you to seek to grow in grace with me.
Soli Deo Gloria,