All scripture contained in this podcast is from the King James Bible (Authorized Version)
Oct. 1, 2020

How To Be Happy


Are you really happy? Today more than ever we see many people miserable, grumpy and unhappy. Is that you? Someone you know? Did you know that you too can be happy? Find out how you can be happy as Pastor Strobel brings us 7 steps to happiness from the Bible.


Transcript

How to Be Happy

Podcast

Growing up, one of the staples of my reading diet was the Charlie Brown, Peanuts comics by Charles Schulz. Not only did I read them in the Sunday comics, but I had books and books of them. It was not unusual for Schulz to make Bible references in his Peanuts comic strips, just like he famously did in the animated cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas which had Linus quoting from Lk. ch. 2 about the birth of Jesus Christ while explaining the true meaning of Christmas. Charles Schulz seemed pretty well acquainted with the Bible, life, and human nature, and he was gifted with the ability to offer some keen insight into our experiences and desires, in a humorous format. Often his punch lines would pack a punch of truth. Such is the case in one of his short 4 panel comics that probably first appeared in a weekday newspaper, in black & white. I came across it years ago, likely in one of my books of compilations of his comic strips.  The raw truth of that comic has stuck with me now for many years.

It shows Charlie Brown & Linus leaning on the top of a brick wall and having one of their thoughtful conversations.
Charlie Brown: "Do you ever think much about the future, Linus?"
Linus: "Oh, Yes... All the time."
Charlie Brown: "What do you think you'd like to be when you grow up?"
Linus: "Outrageously happy!"

I think that Linus’ answer to Charlie Brown’s question, in that two word punch line, sums up the desire of every single human being. For what does a person want, but simply to be happy Everybody wants to be happy!

*Nobody really wants to be unhappy...
*Nobody really wants to be sad...
*Nobody really wants to be miserable...
*Nobody really wants to be depressed...

We all want to be happy!  And we’d like to be outrageously happy! Though, in a pinch, we will settle for just happy over unhappy, if just happy is all we can get!

On today’s podcast, I would like to help you in your quest to find happiness.

On recent Sunday mornings at our church, I have been preaching a series of messages on the subject How to Be Happy.  This past Sunday I preached message # 9 on the subject. Obviously I can’t cover all of the things covered in those messages in today’s program, nor can I go into the depth of each point, but I will give you some of the highlights, and they will work, if you work them! Now, as I said earlier, everybody wants to be happy, but the big problem lies in the differing opinions of what people think it takes to make them happy...   And the inability of many of those things to deliver. The pursuit of happiness for many is like chasing a leaf or a piece of paper, on a windy day.  About the time they think they can grab it, a big gust of wind comes and blows it out of their grasp. Obtaining happiness, for many, is like reaching your hand into a vapor and trying to grab onto the vapor and hold it. For many, happiness is just that elusive...

Now, make no mistake about it...  What people want is lasting happi-ness.

But if they can’t find lasting happiness, they will try to fill their lives with a bunch of things that bring them temporary, fleeting thrills of happiness...  But what they really want is perpetual happiness. For ultimately what good is a happiness that comes to an end, if its end means being miserable for the rest of, or the bulk of your existence.

So I’m going to talk to you about How to Be Happy.  

And this will be a Bible Guide to Happiness...  Because amid all the varying opinions about how to be happy, the Bible is the authority on the subject...  And you can find real answers there.

This world doesn’t know how to be happy.  Just watch them...

This world is filled with a bunch of miserable, unhappy, discontented people, that don’t mind telling you about it, and don’t mind blaming you for it!

And be that as it may, I would like all miserable people everywhere to know... You don’t have to be miserable!! You can be happy!!! 

I think it important for people to know that... Not everybody knows that.  Some people think that it is not possible for them to be happy  But it is... Even in light of the bad things that have happened to you, there is a God in heaven who can overcome those things and bring you true & lasting happiness!

For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Lk. 1:37)

There are even some Christians who have misconceptions about happiness. One day I had a guy put one of those misconceptions on me, and he stated it like this.  He said, "God never promised us happiness.  He promised us joy, but He never promised us happiness." Now when you first hear a statement like that, it almost sounds pro-found. You might even be like, Hmmm, wow!  However, the statement is simply not true! It is a hasty statement made by someone who is ignorant of what the Bible says on the subject...  And I told the guy as much, and proceeded to show him why he was wrong. The fact is that God does promise happiness.  But like so many of His promises...  God’s promise of happiness is a conditional promise.  That is, there are certain conditions that have to be met in order for you to claim this promise. And condition #1 is...

1. Salvation

Let me show you two key places that point to this.  First➔
Deut. 33:29a  Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD...
Israel was happy, because they were saved by the Lord...  Note the colon after the word happy...  What follows that colon is a further exposition of the thought before the colon. And the first thing that anyone needs to be truly happy is to be “saved by the LORD...”
The next place to see this is Ps. 144:15.  That verse says  Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. The Lord becomes your God, when you receive the Lord as your own personal Saviour. So if you have never done that and you want to be happy the first thing you need to do is, get saved!

Because like the children’s Sunday School song says

Happiness is to know the Saviour,
Living a life within His favour,
Having a change in my behavior,
Happiness is the Lord!
Happiness is to be forgiven,
Living a life, that’s worth the livin’,
Taking a trip that leads to heaven,
Happiness is the Lord!
Real joy is mine, 
No matter if the teardrops start.
I’ve found the secret,
It’s Jesus in my heart!

That’s it! Folks will search the whole wide world over looking for happiness, but real happiness is found in salvation in Jesus Christ, and Jesus is accessible from anywhere! I, like many others, have been on both sides of the fence. I have been lost and now I am saved... And I, like many others, can tell you from first hand experience that a saved person is happier than a lost person! The worst day I’ve ever had as a saved person is better than the best day that I ever had as a lost person.  Look around and see... The happiest people on earth are saved people! Now, I’ll grant you there are some saved people that are miserable, but that’s not God’s fault, it’s theirs! God, in salvation, has given us the key to happiness!

Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD...
Happy 
is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

Saved, born again Christians, are the happiest folks on the face of the earth! And what is it that makes the saved person so happy?  Well...

A.) He knows that his sins are forgiven!

Before I got saved I lived with the nagging concern of appearing before God at the judgment. I carried the heavy load of sin and dreaded the day when they would all be brought out into the open.  And the Spirit of God bore witness to me of my pending fate of “judgment to come...”

The Bible says it like this➔

Eccl. 12:14  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Luke 12:2  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

Matthew 12:36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

And before I knew the Lord, the load of unforgiven sin weighed heavy upon my soul...   But on April 25th, 1980, in the back room of a little country church, that load was lifted, when, after calling upon the name of the Lord for salvation, for the first time in my life, I knew I was saved!!! You talk about happiness!  It was➔ joy unspeakable and full of glory!!! What makes the Christian happy? He knows his sins are forgiven and...

B.) He knows he never has to worry about going to hell!

Before I got saved, not only was I concerned with standing before God with my sins, I was gravely concerned with what would happen after that. I knew that my eternal soul would live forever in one of two places, and I did not want to go to hell... Again, the Holy Spirit bore witness to my soul of the Bible truth about hell...  A place of fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, where lost souls go And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. That is not where I wanted to spend my forever! And when I got saved, I got saved from my sins, and I got saved from hell!  That’s how it works with everyone who gets saved! Therefore the saved, born again child of God can rejoice that he no longer has to worry about going to hell. The Christian can pillow his head at night in peace, and wake up in the morning with a hope that is➔ both sure and stedfast... And those who are saved, can pray to God, and say with David, the words of Ps. 86:12-13  

{12} I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. 

{13} For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

What makes a saved person happy? He knows his sins are forgiven and...  He knows he never has to worry about going to hell!  And...

C.) He knows he’s on his way to heaven!

Prior to salvation, the Holy Spirit also bore witness to my soul of the bliss & blessing that I could gain in heaven. I would think about it & I understood it to be really & truly Happily ever after...  And I began to desire this future above all else. Going to hell is bad enough with all of its aforementioned torments... but one of the worse things about going to hell...  is missing heaven! And the weeping and wailing that takes place at the judgment will not only be because the lost are headed for the lake of fire... But also because they will be hit with the stark realization that they have missed out on all of the most beautiful & satisfying blessings of an eternity in heaven and now it’s too late to do anything about it! But ohh the happiness of knowing you are going to heaven...  Not because of your own good works, but knowing that➔ by grace are ye saved through faith...  in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy are those who know that they are on their way to heaven... For heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace... Even as it is written➔ in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Salvation brings a happiness that lasts forevermore! That’s what lost people in this world want... a happiness that lasts forevermore!  They just don’t know how to find it...  And they wind up looking for it in all the wrong places.  But that happiness is available to them, and it’s all wrapped up in the Lord...  And Jesus Christ is the Lord! And it is written➔ happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

So the first thing you need in order to be truly happy, is salvation.

Ps. 144:14-15  That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. 

{15} Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

2. Don’t Complain

Granted, you can’t keep other people from complaining, and that might put a damper on your happiness... But you can keep yourself from complaining, and that will help you to be happy. Complaining can drive you crazy, whether it’s you doing it or some-one else doing it...  But you can only control what you do. If it’s a friend that is making you miserable by complaining, you might have to limit your time with them, or try to get them to snap out of it...  But when it’s all said and done, the only person you can really, actually stop from complaining is yourself...  So let’s focus on that. Would you be happy?  Then quit your complaining...   If you’re not a complainer, don’t start - You’ve got a good thing going and it is contributing to a more happy demeanor for you. David says the people that exist in an atmosphere that is absent of complaining, is a happy people!

I’d like to show you the first time the word complain shows up in the Bible in any form.➔ 

Num. 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.

Ps. 77:2-3  In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. {3} I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

Now this complaining that Asaph acknowledged doing, is different than pouring out your complaint to the Lord in prayer...  The title of Ps. 102 indicates that that is what that Psalm is going to be all about...  And doing that is helpful. Now, again, we can’t cut out the complaining of the rest of the world, but we can cut out our own. This world is bent on complaining, and complain they do, and complain they will...  Until Jesus comes and stops their mouths.➔ 

Jude 1:14-16  And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 

{15} To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 

{16} These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

And some of you would be amazed at how much happier you’d be, if you’d quit complaining so much!   Happy is that people, that is in such a case... Try it...  You’ll like it!  And so will everyone that has to listen to you!! How does one quit complaining?  Well, you can start by counting your blessings! Do you know why it upset God so much that His people were com-plaining in Num. 11:1?  It’s because He had been so good to them! They were truly blessed! And this brings up something else I need to point out. Some people equate the word “happy” in the Scriptures, with the word “blessed”.  But while those two words may be close relatives, they are different individuals.  Sometimes Bible teachers and preachers, will overthrow the word “blessed” with the word “happy” when expounding the Scriptures... Some folks just have the hardest time, taking the King James text as it stands...  They always have to be messing with it. The end result for themselves, and their followers, is that they cut the truth out of the passages with their exposition of the text...  Or should I say with their execution of their text. You see, there is a great distinction between being blessed and being happy... While all happy people, certainly are blessed; not all blessed people are happy. Now, all blessed people should be happy...  But it is not always the case that they are. Every saved person is truly & genuinely blessed...  Saved people also have many blessings along with their salvation... But not every saved & blessed person is happy down here on earth. I have known many a blessed individual that was miserable.  Just being blessed doesn’t make everybody happy.  For that blessing to be transformed into happiness, there must be a recognition, and understanding, and an appreciation of the fact that you are blessed. And in Num. 11 the children of Israel were blessed, but they were not happy with their blessings...  And instead of taking inventory and counting their blessings, they complained about their circumstances. Complaining is no way to be happy!!  

Watch people when they complain, and the veins are popping out in their necks & head, and their practically foaming at the mouth...  and you tell me, Do they look happy!

*A complaining person is an unhappy person...
*A complaining husband is an unhappy husband...
*A complaining wife is an unhappy wife...
*A complaining parent is an unhappy parent...
*A complaining child is an unhappy child...
*A complaining teenager is an unhappy teenager...
*A complaining Christian is an unhappy Christian...

On the other hand, a contented person is a happy person!
*A contented husband is a happy husband...
*A contented wife is a happy wife...
*A contented parent is a happy parent...
*A contented child is a happy child...
*A contented teenager is a happy teenager...
*A contented Christian is a happy Christian...

A contented person is not a complaining person...  Therefore if you would quit complaining, learn to➔ be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. {6} So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Paul was a happy Christian, because he was a contented Christian➔ Phil. 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

If you are a complainer, then now it is time for you to be a repenter! And that can help you become contenter!  And that will help you be a happy Christian...  And that is a lot better way to live than what you’ve been doing!

3. Help Someone in Need

Prov. 14:21  He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

I think it pretty obvious in the verse, that having mercy on the poor in this context is giving to him to help him out. This idea is corroborated in Ps. 37:21 where, at the end of the verse it says➔ the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

You can, of course:
*Give of your money...
*Give of your goods...
*Give of your time...
*Give of your talent...
*Give of yourself...

Whatever you do to help another, can not only bring happiness to them...  It will bring happiness to you. Do you ever do anything to help those in need? Selfishness is a sure way to unhappiness; and one of the best things for your heart, is to help out someone else. Charles Dickens famously illustrated this with the character he named Scrooge in his story, A Christmas Carol. The old geezer Scrooge, was a miserable, penny-pinching, self serving, money grubbing, snob who cared for no one but himself. And you know the story, Scrooge got a good dose of reality and realizing he had the means to help those in need, with his new outlook he wanted to do just that. So he did...  And the story that began with a miserable wretch of a man, ends with a happy Scrooge...  Happy because of a change of heart, which led him to help some folks that were in need. There are so many in need in this world, that you wouldn’t have far to look to find someone you could be a blessing to.

Perhaps that great old hymn should be your prayer,

Out in the highways and byways of life,
 Many are weary and sad;
 Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
 Making the sorrowing glad.

Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing,
 Out of my life, may Jesus shine;
 Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,
 Make me a blessing to someone today.


Or how ’bout this old hymn? 

Brighten the corner where you are! 
Brighten the corner where you are! 
Someone far from harbor "you" may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

And as you brighten the corner where you are, you will not only bring brightness...  happiness to another...

But as you are in that corner too, the brightness will shine upon you as well...  And the Lord says➔ he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

4. Happy is the Man That Feareth Alway

Prov. 28:14  Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

Just thrown out there as a statement by itself, no doubt many would think this a strange thing to say, and probably disagree with it. You tend not to think of someone who is always afraid as a happy person. You might rather call him a paranoid person...  which again, is not the type of person thought of as a happy person. But if the Bible says it to be so, than we know it must be so! And this fear is not the spirit of fear that God has not given us according to II Tim. 1:7, but this is the Spirit of the fear of the LORD that God has given us, and as Jesus had according to Is. 11:1-2 Note the contrast that is given in the first & last part of the verse... The contrast set against fearing alway, is falling into mischief. Falling into mischief is like when today we refer to someone falling into sin.  Now we tend to use the term falling into sin to refer to a drastic fall into sin, such as David did in the case of Bathsheba... And while falling into mischief may end there as well, a fall into mischief may begin with a less drastic fall into sin...  But any fall into sin is a dangerous thing. So if the person in the first part of Prov. 28:14 is happy because of what he is doing, and that person is contrasted with someone doing something else in the latter part of the verse, than we can also under-stand that the person in the latter part of the verse is not happy.

Prov. 28:14a Here’s a guy who’s happy...  Prov. 28:14b Here’s a guy who is not!

The happy person lives in the fear of the Lord...  The unhappy person lives in sin.

*Sin is the enemy of happiness.
*I repeat Sin is the enemy of happiness.

The fear of the Lord leads to right living  Righteous living...  A lack of the fear of the Lord leads to sinful behavior...  By and large, that’s where society is today!  Living with a severe lack of the fear of God!! But this is not a condition peculiar to the year 2020. In 60 A.D. the apostle Paul proclaimed in Rom. 3:18➔  There is no fear of God before their eyes. The fear of God makes one cautious in his behavior...  No fear of God, makes one morally reckless! Welcome to our world...  A world in which morality is being thrown to the dogs at an increasing and alarming rate.  All spawned by a lack of the fear of the Lord. People then, go after sin thinking it will satisfy their soul and make them happy, but sin is not capable of patching up the empty place inside the soul...  Trying to patch the soul with sin, is like trying to patch the bottom of a boat with a screen.

*Sin is the enemy of happiness.  

Prov. 14:16  A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

Briefly the next two...

5. Prov. 3:13  Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

6. Prov. 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

And this leads us to the last thing I’ll say today...

7. John 13:17  If Ye Know These Things, Happy Are Ye If Ye Do Them

This is a very important verse in the Bible... It is a statement...  By Jesus...  To His disciples...   Regarding their happiness... So if you are one of His disciples, you should take note. In this verse, happiness is a conditional condition... Even for a disciple of Jesus. Truly salvation brings happiness, but getting saved and then not following through to live in obedience to what the Lord has shown you to do, snuffs out your day to day happiness. Knowledge is important, but it’s not all about what you know about the Bible. It’s about what you do with what you know. Jesus gave all kinds of helpful instructions to His disciples...  Now it was up to them to do something with those instructions. Obedience to what they knew to do, would bring about happiness. Failing to obey what they knew they should do, would bring about unhappiness. And perhaps this is a good time for you who are saved to take inventory.  Are you a happy Christian, or are you an unhappy Christian?  If the answer is you are an unhappy Christian, you should decisively understand, that the fault is not God’s! God has given you all of the tools for happiness, and if you are an unhappy Christian, the reason might be right here in John 13:17... And, by the way, that term just sounds wrong doesn’t it?! Unhappy  Christian? It may very well be that the reason for your unhappiness as a Christian is that you have failed to act on the light the Lord has given you. You have failed to implement the truth that He has revealed to you.

This does not lead to happiness, for Jesus said➔ If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. 

Therefore if you don’t do them, you don’t get to be happy! How foolish are we?  God tells us what to do to be happy and then we try to find some other way! God shows us light in His word, and then we want to turn off the light and pretend we didn’t see it... Ohhh but you did see it...  And if you want to be happy, you need to act upon it! And the sooner you do, the sooner you will be happy! Not only does failing to do the things the Lord has shown you to do, lead to unhappiness, according to another Scripture, it is also a sin!➔ 

Jas. 4:17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

So knowing to do good, and failing to do it, is a sin. And knowing to do good, and failing to do it, forfeits your happiness. But knowing what the Lord wants you to do, and doing it...  Makes you happy. So what is it that you know you should be doing... that you’re not doing? What is it that the Lord has shown you to do from the Scriptures that you have not yet acted upon? Your happiness awaits on the other side of the door of your obedience. It is up to you to walk through it...

James also told us in ch. 1 and v. 22 of his epistle➔  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Don’t try to think of a way out of it. Don’t pretend nor assume that this is not at the root of why you are not a happy Christian... If you have identified an area or areas in which you have not yet obeyed and know what the Lord wants you to do...  Praise the Lord!  

Not that you haven’t obeyed... 

But that a happy Christian life is setting right before you, waiting for you to take it, for➔  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.