As the title of this article says happiness and contentment are choices. We can choose to be happy and content no matter what comes our way. Is it difficult? YES! However, we can either let the things that happen to us control us or we can control them.
Gods children have more reason to be happy than anyone else even in times of trouble. We know that if we are faithful till the end all that happens here on earth will be nothing compared to the reward we will receive when Jesus comes again.
Perhaps one could look at all that Job went through and say that he had every right to be upset and angry over what happened to him yet he held fast the his belief that no matter what God knew his circumstance and he would not deny God as his wife told him to. Job made a choice to endure he chose to believe that God could deliver him.
We make choices everyday, we choose whether or not to let “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” so to speak, determine our day or whether we will allow our love for God to rule over that bad attitude we woke up with. All day long things happen and we have to choose how we are going to view them and how we are going to react. We can choose to put ourselves aside and look at things from a Godly prospective or from our own human prospective. Most of the time I think we choose our own over Gods. Someone does something to upset us or to wrong us and we automatically seek to get back at that person or perhaps we take our frustration out on someone else. Neither of these actions are pleasing to God and we know it if we will be honest with ourselves.
It is the choice we make when confronted with obstacles each day that will determine how happy we are. For example the person who is ill or facing a sickness that they know they will have to live with for the rest of their lives has the choice to either wallow in their misery and feel sorry for themselves or they can take the approach that even though they are ill they are still useful to God. So, they do all they can to ease the symptoms of their illness and push forward in service to God.
I personally face illness everyday, and my goal each day is to do all that I can do to please God. I try to keep in mind that though my activities are limited due to my illness that I am still useful and can still do many things in service to the Lord. Now, I could take the attitude well poor me I am sick and can't go and do what I want the way I want and I could easily fall into self pity and choose to use my illness to make others feel sorry for me. I could make all kinds of excuses that life isn't fair and wear the (Why ME) badge for all to see. But, I don't at least I try not too anyway. I choose to do the best I can each day wherever I am and as I can. So I choose to be happy and content with the situation I am in. Now this is not to say I don't have my bad days and slip just like anyone else, however, it doesn't take long for me to realize this isn't what God wants from me and I do my best and yes sometimes fail to remember the very things I am writing about here.
So, with all this being said lets see if we can find out what the scriptures teach and see if we can apply them to our lives so as to be as pleasing to God as possible.
There is no better place to go to find happiness and contentment than the scriptures. God through His apostles has give us all we need that pertains to life and Godliness. In the opening of his second letter Peter tells us this “2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”.
Knowing that God our Creator has given us all we need, should we not be able to find happiness? Should our attitude not be one of joy and comfort? Do we not know and remember that the things of this world are but temporary? These are questions we should ask ourselves often and seek the answers from Gods word. If God had left us to our own understanding then we might have an excuse, but He didn't.
No matter what it is illness the actions of others circumstances beyond our control God has made provision for us. We have to choose for ourselves what outlook we are going to have.
Lets look at Paul for a moment, here is a man that believed what he was doing was right in the eyes of God and he set out to destroy the Christians and the teaching they held on to from God. In his (Paul's) ignorance he could have chose to continue his mission but after meeting the Lord on the road to Damascus he changed his attitude. He could have wallowed in the fact that he had killed and imprisoned those Christians he had already come in contact with but he didn't. When he stood before Agrippa, and told of his life changing event Paul once named Saul choose to show the attitude of one who understood he had done wrong and yet choose now to do right with with gladness of heart.
Let us look at what Paul said to the king.
Act 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
Act 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 26:15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
Act 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Act 26:17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Act 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Act 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Act 26:21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
Act 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
Does this sound like a man who because of his circumstances was unhappy? No, Paul was set for the defense of what he was doing proclaiming even to the king what had happened. When Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison what did they do? Lets read it….. Act 16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
Act 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Act 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Act 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Do these men sound unhappy? Singing and praising God even in stocks chained in prison? Was the attitude of these men that of discontent? They chose to accept their situation and made the best of it.
One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from the book of Philippians, 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Php 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
A great lesson can be learned here Paul chose to be happy and content he had learned that no matter what, God was not going to put on him more than he could bare. Did Paul suffer? You bet! Do we suffer? Absolutely! The difference is all in how we CHOOSE to look at and handle each situation we find ourselves in.
Can any of us say we have gone through the trials of Job? I think not. Can any of us really say that God has abandoned us? Absolutely NOT! Friends we choose to be happy and content or we chose to be miserable and discontent. It is just a fact that can not be denied. Look around you there are men and women coming home from wars with scars we will never have. Lost limbs damaged minds fighting daily just to regain part of the life they once had. Their fight isn't over it may go on for the rest of their lives yet they fight none the less and make great strides daily learning to live with things we will never know or even begin to understand. Now, here we are crying over hurt feelings or complaining over our illnesses that do not even compare to these folks demise.
I don't know about you but as for me I will do as Paul did and strive daily to be content and happy wherever and in whatever circumstance I find myself. I will choose to thank and praise God for all I have and can do. Life my friends is to short to do anything else.