Sunday, January 11, 2015

The True Secret of Happiness

I'm not exactly sure when it occurred to me - this "secret" of happiness - but it did. And as soon as I realized just what that "secret" was, and started living it in my own life, this amazing, life-changing "secret" has proven itself to be true time and time again.

First, I should tell you that I am a Christian. I tell you that not to flaunt it or try to persuade you to give your life to Jesus . . . although I think that's a really good idea. ;) No, I tell you that so that those of you who want to follow this trail I am about to lay out before you can know where to start.

I use quotation marks around the word "secret" because this "secret" really isn't a secret at all. It has been known for thousands of years. The problem is, we as a people have chosen to ignore it and not live it out in our lives for others to see. The good news is we can begin to live it at anytime and discover for ourselves the true meaning of happiness - love.

Let's start our little journey of love today with a few verses from the Bible. Again, I am not trying to sway anyone or convict anyone or judge anyone. I just want to show you something. If you have a Bible, go get it. Otherwise, read them here in this text.

The first clue to true happiness can be found several places in the Bible (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). This is from Luke . . .

"27 He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Luke 10:27

It is pretty clear that Jesus wants us to love God and love each other. But what is this "love" He is talking about? We can "love" many things and in many ways. I love potato salad, I love my wife, I love my friend. With what kind of love are we to love God and others?

The ancient Greek word "love" used in this text is "agape" - an unconditional, sacrificial love. Do you love others unconditionally?

Clue number two is found in in Book of 1 John, the fourth chapter, verses 7-21. This is an incredible passage of scripture and contains many wonderful truths.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother."
- 1 John 4:7-21

This is amazing stuff!! These two paragraphs contain so many breadcrumbs along the trail of true happiness, it is hard NOT to find one's way.

The third thing I would like to show you is found in the opening paragraph of the Book of John.

"In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:1-5

Verse one states things pretty clearly - Jesus is God. And if Jesus is God, and God is love, I guess one could safely say that Jesus is love.

Here's another verse for you to consider. One that will really separate the wheat from the chaff.

"13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13

There's that word love again. And again, from the Greek, it is an "agape" love - that sacrificial, unconditional love. A question for you: Would you die in the place of one of your friends? Would you sacrifice YOUR life for the life of another? For someone you didn't like? For an enemy? The answer should be yes.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." - Philippians 1:21

If we read this verse knowing that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus IS God and that God is love, we could easily interpret that verse as "To live is love." Another question: Do I live my life loving others? Do I live my life lovingly towards all people? The answer, again, should be yes.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments." - John 14:15

And so we are left with this: The true secret of happiness is love. To find this love that everyone seeks these days we must first find God, love Him and then love others, unconditionally. Remember, Jesus IS God. Seek Him. Find Him. Love Him. Only then will you find true love and true happiness. I thought I knew what love was in my life before I found Jesus. But after I came to know Him, I found that I really did not know love at all. Ever since then however, that love we all search for has found me. It will find you too . . . if you let it.

There is nothing like experiencing true love. Open up your heart to Him today.

My Jesus, I Love Thee - Bart Millard

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