The Discipline of Happiness

What is a “Discipline?” This word has several meanings, it can be used as a noun or a verb, and it is often defined by the larger context when used in a phrase or sentence. The use of it in this devotional is along the lines of dictionary.com’s 11th definition (there are 12 definitions listed!):

“to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control”

What is “Happiness?” Happiness, joy, and rejoicing are usually thought of as spontaneous expressions of heart-felt emotions, but they are much more. They are also deliberate expressions of heart-embraced truth. Most of the Feasts in the Laws of the Old Testament commanded the people to “Rejoice in the Lord,” a deliberate act of rejoicing that was based upon their recognition of a particular truth about God and His provisions.

Jesus told the parable of a woman who asked others to help her rejoice:

“… suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she… search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together… ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’”

‭~ Luke‬ ‭15:8-9‬

Happiness (joy, rejoicing) doesn’t have to come only from spontaneous emotions. We can exercise happiness through a deliberate recognition of the goodness of God in our lives. When the scripture says “Rejoice in the Lord,” it is a self-disciplined pattern or lifestyle.

Being happy on the outside is not being phony or fake. It is a self-discipline with a greater objective: to help guide our daily walk in conscious and deliberate agreement with the truths of God that truly do lead to times of spontaneous expressions of happy emotions.

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#FeastsOfGod

The Key to Personal Happiness

“These things I have spoken to you,
that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

~ ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬

Generally speaking, the key to unlock the heart-gates for personal happiness is the Personal Choice to be a happy person. Without this key, even the sum total of all the blessings from God, family, and friends cannot force open the heart-gates and compel a person to be happy.

When we consider the above statement for our own lives, we may have a hundred exceptions come to mind. Things like: What about those who have chemical imbalances of the brain? Or, what about those who are in the middle of a traumatic event? Or, what if a person was born with a genetic predisposition to sadness?

While each question probably has an answer, let each one of us be transparent, honest, and sincere with ourselves, prayerfully considering whether we are holding on to any exception as an excuse for why we are not responsible for our own personal happiness.

Jesus taught [in the first half of the above scripture verse] that He inspires Peace in our life. Then in the second half of the verse He inferred that the tribulations in life inspire personal sadness (the opposite of good cheer). His solution to this state of personal sadness: choose to be inspired by Him for personal happiness instead of inspired by tribulations for personal sadness.

“Be of good cheer” is a call to action: to exert oneself, to put forth effort, to use energy to accomplish. Thankfully, the choice to become and to remain a happy person can be accomplished in partnership with the Holy Spirit. He always does His part, providing what we need by way of guidance, wisdom, and power. But, the key to our personal happiness remains in our own hand: our Personal Choice.

Choosing to be a happy person is not about being a fake or a phony. The choice for Personal Happiness that is spoken of here is one that involves the entire heart and soul. It’s a choice to change the tone and the tune of our life-song that we sing, both outwardly and inwardly.

Sometimes we have to sing a song out loud before we will feel it on the inside. Just as our singing worship songs outwardly begins to minister to us inwardly, so it is with being a happy person. Being happy outwardly will influence our happiness inwardly, and being happy inwardly will influence our happiness outwardly. It is a journey of effort and change, but it can start only after we turn the key, after we make the Personal Choice to become a happy person.

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