If you’re happy and you know it . . .

There are seven things that Jeff Haden at Inc.com claims you can do to make yourself a happier person.  He reports that about 50% of your happiness is determined by heredity.  If that is true, it means the other half of your happiness is something you can control.  His advice:  Do these seven things and you will be a happier person.

1. Make good friends.
2. Express thankfulness to others.
3. Actively pursue your goals.
4. Do what you excel at as often as you can.
5. Give.
6. Don’t single-mindedly chase “stuff.”
7. Live the life you want to live.

As I read the article I was struck, once again, at how the world is discovering God’s word has a great plan for our lives.  Unfortunately, too many think they came up with the ideas.  All of those seven principles for happiness are found in Scripture.

  1. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”
  2. Colossians 2:6-7  “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
  3. Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
  4. Philippians 4:13  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  5. Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
  6. Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.   But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

The seventh principle reveals a small but significant difference.  In fact, I think the key to happiness is found in this one difference.  Jeff Haden said, “Live the life you want to live.”  He quoted a palliative care nurse who said that a dying person’s most common regret was the wish that he or she had lived with the courage to be true to personal desires instead of what others had expected of them.  

To Jeff and all who would want to know great happiness I would strongly suggest they compare the seventh principle to one of the greatest truths in all of Scripture.  

7. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

The key to living the joy-filled life that God has promised is often found in one important, from the Garden of Eden to the present, principle.  God always has a better plan for our lives than the one we would devise for ourselves.

God knows whom we should marry and if we should marry.  God knows what we should choose for our career and when we should choose a career.  God knows what “stuff” will make us happy and what “stuff” will distract from his highest priorities.  God knows when we should give and whom we should give to.  God knows what we should say and when we should say it.  God is always and forever interested in our lives, our souls, and our spiritual success.  Happiness is a great thing.  Joy, on the other hand, is a God-thing.  Happiness is about what happens, joy is about what God has blessed.

The life that God has designed is best because a God-filled life is blessed.  Are you trusting in God with all your heart and not leaning on your own understanding?  If you want to be happy, acknowledge him and enjoy his straight path.  It is his best and blessed plan for your life.

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