Happiness is a Choice

Jesus said, “. . . I am come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly.” (My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.) (NLT)

I read that in France in 1969, the President of France created a new cabinet position called “Secretary of State with Public Opinion.” It was the responsibility of this person to keep his ear attuned to the discontent of the people, and report what he heard to the president. He described his job by saying, “I am the minister of moans and groans.”

I worked with a man several years ago who told me he had to listen to complaints all day. He went on to share that his father was a complainer all his life and he was determined not to be. We have all worked with people who spend a great percentage of their work day complaining about the job, someone with whom they work, or company management.

We don’t have to go through life moaning and groaning, especially as Christians. The fact that we are a people of faith (trusting God) we should have a positive attitude and be optimistic.

We must admit that when things are “going our way” we feel a lot happier and much easier to live with. We have less opportunity or the need to moan and groan and complain about others, or the situation in which we find ourselves. However, there will be times of sadness, hardships, hurts, difficulties, and trials. Can we find happiness or joy in times like these? James seemd to think so and he wrote, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (James 1:2-4) (NLT)

Charles Swindoll has a devotional book, Living On The Edge. In the chapter titled, “Enjoying Life Now, Not Later,” he asked this question, “Are you enjoying life now or have you put all that on ‘hold’?  For most people, life has become a grim marathon of misery, an endurance test full of frowns, whines, groans, and sighs. And perhaps that explains why so many who were once close to them have a tendency to drift away. Can you think of anyone who would rather spend a lot of time with those who have stopped enjoying life? They’d probably rather invest their hours in a pet, an animal that can’t even talk, than in someone who resembles a depressing, dark rain cloud.”

The apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote the letter to the church at Philippi, yet he maintained a positive attitude and encouraged them to do the same. “Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say again, be filled with joy. . . continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable, and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”