What really matters?
What does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you respect the LORD your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. – Deuteronomy 10:12
1 Timothy 6:6-12
6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.
7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.
8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so, run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.
People today, particularly college students, tend to be terminally unhappy and disassociated. An American College Health Association survey found that 52% of students reported feeling hopeless while 39% suffered from severe depression that limited their ability to function within the previous year. The students know they are struggling and are trying to do something about it. They are seeking wellness, identity, and happiness.
What is the most popular class at Yale University? It is a course in the science of well-being, entitled “Psychology and the Good Life.” But it is popularly known as Yale’s “Happiness Class.” A typical semester class has 1200 students or a quarter of the undergraduate student body. “Psychology and the Good Life” is the most popular course ever to be taught at Yale University.
The premise: Happiness can be learned. The course offers a step-by-step process for boosting your own happiness. Here are four of the steps:
- Focus on your strengths
- Invest in experiences
- Learn to savor more, that is step outside of your experience in reviewing appreciate it
- Express gratitude and spread kindness
REFLECT & PRAY
When we seek happiness contentment and a sense of well-being through things, relationships, or achievements we often come up short.
Father may I find and maintain joy and contentment through intimately knowing You. May I learn the open secret of contentment and do what You have asked of me.
The more we become aware of conditions in the world in which we live, the greater and greater cause for despair, sadness, perhaps even gloom, doom, and fear. Some of us are so desperate that we stop watching or reading the news. Are we going to allow world events or personal tragedy to define our present and future reality? As children of the King, how do we overcome our natural negative tendencies?
The Scriptures point the way. The Bible is way ahead when it comes to contentment, peace, and what the world calls happiness. It involves a change in attitude and belief and then consequent action.
Paul the apostle experienced great joy in the face of persecution and very difficult conditions. Paul had a choice. Was he going to allow his circumstances to define him and press him into a mold? Definitely not. Paul chose to be joyful and thankful.
Paul’s solution was an open secret. It was simple. He had learned to draw close to the Father, place his full confidence in Him and alter his expectations accordingly.
Paul had a remarkable, overcoming spirit. As we learn to follow Paul’s example, it can become a defining moment for our present and future. In time, we are able to say with him, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”.
11 I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.
12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
a simple definition of being single-minded? It is the attitude that says, it makes no difference what happens to me, given that Christ is honored, and the Gospel is shared.
Paul has something that is available to each child of the King. Paul had a tender, close, sweet spiritual fellowship with the Father. In Philippians, Paul’s joy sparkles and effervesces throughout.
When we are single-minded, there is no room for complaint. Difficult circumstances result in growth and strength. Through increased spiritual strength we persevere and overcome.
With beliefs based squarely upon the foundation of Scripture, a new attitude within is formed and consequent new actions performed.
9 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.
10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.