Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Holy Life Leads to a Happy Life

My former Bible study leaders used to  describe JOY using this acronymn: J-esus, O-thers, Y-ou. In our world today it seems most people focus on themselves FIRST, others SECOND and Jesus LAST. That's totally backwards from what the Bible teaches. Maybe that's why some of us walk around carrying the world on our shoulders. That's not God's loving desire for us.
Recently I read an article listing the 15 things we need to give up in order to live a happier life. I liked what was listed, but I wanted to give it a more Biblical slant, so I commented and added Scripture to support each point.

1. Give up your need to always be right.
Pastor David Whitehead comments: This Scripture encapsulates the entire story of Joseph. After being sold into slavery by his brothers, taking false charges of rape and enduring years in a dungeon, Joseph has every right to want revenge on his brothers. instead, he sees that God used his circumstances to stage the greatest hunger relief program of the ancient world. 
There are many things we are suffering in now that, when we look back, we will see the sovereign hand of God guiding us.

Genesis 15:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.

2. Give up your need for control. God knows what's best for us. Let's not resist His work in our lives. Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." 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 direct your path."
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blame. Galatians 6:5 "For each one should carry his OWN load." Take responsibility for your actions. You can't control others, you can only control yourself.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk.
  "Act the way you want to be and soon you'll be the way you act." - Les Brown. 
Deuteronomy 7:6 "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession."

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” 
Eckhart Tolle

Phil 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable---if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things."

5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

Mark 9:23 " 'If you can?' said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind”
Elly Roselle

Romans 8:37 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

6. Give up complaining.
Phil. 2:14: "Do everything without complaining or arguing" 

7. Give up your need to impress others.  Romans 12:2-3
 "Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
8. Give up the luxury of criticism. Although difficult, we must try not to have a critical spirit. Remember, we're all just trying to do the best we can.  Matthew 7:1"Do not judge lest you be judged."

Romans 12:10: "Love one another with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other."
9. Give up your resistance to change. Life would be pretty boring without change: With winter, comes spring. With night, comes day. With death, comes life. 

Eph 4:22-24 tells us "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 

1 Corintians 15:51 "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--"

1 Corinthians 15:52 "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

That's one change I'm definitely looking forward to!

10. Give up labels. We've heard it said: don't judge a book by its cover. Treat everyone the same. Galatians 3:28 says:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:3:  
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Philippians 2:3-4: "In humility consider others better than yourselves."

11. Give up on your fears. 1 Timothy 1:7 "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." 

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. Give up your excuses.
Yes, we have freedom in Christ but that doesn't give us an excuse to sin, since we know we'll be forgiven. Instead, we must strive to be all Christ wants us to be because of the enormous sacrifice He made to shower His grace upon us. Romans 12:1-2 "
I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Galatians 5:13:

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

13. Give up the past.  John 8:32: For you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

14. Give up attachment. 
John 15:19 
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. 
This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.
Romans 8:31-32 tells us "If God is for us, who can be against us?" When Job fell into various life trials, his wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Job was wise enough to realize he is not one to question God's ways. 
Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.

Are you a man pleaser, or God pleaser?

Which do you find most difficult to do? i find not complaining the most difficult.
CHALLENGE: let's try to do this for ONE WEEK and see how we feel afterward! Are you up for the challenge? I am! :-)

1 Spout:

Thank you, Karen. This was wonderful and helpful...very helpful words of Truth.

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