Episode 067 | How to Be Happy

May 30th, 2017

How can we really be happy when we’re in the midst of parenting small children or working in a job that is anything but what we dreamed it would be? Was Jesus actually happy when he was on earth? Listen in as Pastor Matt answers our questions and shares some of the secrets to real happiness.

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Summary

The team starts this episode by unpacking Philippians 1.21 to reveal what it means for Christians to live with the tension of serving Jesus here on Earth while yearning to be with him in heaven. This conversation develops into a discussion about being real with God regarding emotional health.

The episode switches gears as Pastor Matt addresses how people in high-stress jobs like law enforcement can encounter God and experience peace in the midst of adversity. The episode then returns to the topic of emotional health as Pastor Matt speaks to the chemical nature of emotions and offers insight on how to achieve mental, physical, and spiritual balance in the face of disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Pastor Matt, Tim, and Stephanie move into debriefing the message, How to Be Truly Happy, by discussing how Jesus experienced happiness in the Bible and how to find joy in the midst of parenting. Pastor Matt then answers some questions about Philippians 2, such as how to actively pursue humility and the dual nature of Jesus Christ. Pastor Matt then emphasizes how our faith in Jesus should affect every area of our lives, causing us to grow and change to be more like Jesus.

This Week's Topics

Is it ok for Christians to want life to end soon so we can go be with Jesus?

In Philippians 1.21 Paul is not promoting suicide or a short life. In Paul’s circumstances, dying to go to heaven would have been better but the church needed him to write the books he wrote in the Bible while he was still here on earth. Christians should have a divine curiosity about the next life, but we should hope to live a long full and healthy life so we can serve God. We have spouses, children, and churches that need us. We have a purpose that is beyond feeling good and feeling happy, we are here to further the kingdom of God.

If being happy or joyful feels hard and even fake, how do I navigate how I'm feeling and still be real with God and others?

There is a balance. We need to be real, but if we are always negative and always dark, we are not ready to get well. It is not about being fake it is about asking God how we can change ourselves in a way that promotes being joyful. When we are facing anger or sadness we need to look at our heart, ask why and then take the necessary steps to better ourselves, possibly through counseling, therapy or Soul Care at Sandals Church.

How can Christians in law enforcement find joy despite the darkness they see in their job?

Being a police officer is one of the most difficult jobs there is, especially in our current political climate. Those in law enforcement should remember that they are dealing with only about 2-5% of the population, not a representation of everyone in the world. And like any occupation, there are great, bad and even evil police officers in the world. In our world we love to talk about the evil in systems, the problem isn’t in the system, it is in people. With any profession when you see a lot of darkness you must be intentional about pursuing light. If you are in darkness 40-50 hours a week, you need more than one hour of church on the weekend to counteract that.

How should Christians view their struggle with clinical anxiety and depression?

Mental health is a real issue in our society. We are chemical, biological beings but not all our feelings of anxiety and depression are completely chemical or biological. We shouldn’t minimize mental health issues, but people need community and to exercise their souls too. We should also eat healthily, exercise, and seek counseling when we are dealing with more severe emotional and mental health issues. Some people feel more deeply than others do, and some of feeling deeply is a really good thing.

Was Jesus a happy person?

God wants to bring joy into our lives, and Jesus was joyful. Our perception of Jesus as unhappy may come from the fact that much of the church’s depictions of Jesus are of him experiencing crucifixion. But Jesus was also accused of being a glutton and drunkard, and that he was always eating, always partying and always hanging out with sinners. In John 10.10 Jesus said that he has “come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

What does Godly joy look like in the midst of parenthood?

Every person’s experience in parenting is different. Some are joyful and love it, for others it is very difficult. Children are difficult and taxing. As parents, we should be in community with others who can help us find joy in either case. Sometimes we need space from your kids to spend time with God. Thankfully our church has free childcare, so for an hour and half every weekend your children can be with people love them and want to be with them, giving parents a well-deserved break. Young parents should know that it gets better and that they are raising the next generation of Christians, so they shouldn’t give up or lose heart.

How do I begin to become more humble and tame my bold personality?

The most difficult person to change is the person who is not self-aware. As Christians we need to be aware of the way people receive us. There is both beauty and brokenness in bold personalities. The beauty is that a bold person stands up for what is right and true, and the brokenness is that they sometimes offend people. We need to humble ourselves, making sure that we get instant feedback and act upon that feedback. If we have a strong personality we need to be around others who aren’t afraid speak into that.

When Jesus was on earth was he God or human?

Christianity is the relational movement of God where he brings healing to us through Jesus. Jesus has to perfectly represent both parties to do this, which he does. Jesus is both fully man and fully God. He never ceased to be God, but the speed and power at which he does things is limited to what humans can do while he is on earth. Jesus is using the full power of God that is available to any human being. In this way, Jesus epitomizes the ultimate strength of relationship that one can have with God.

If we are asking God to change our mood and it isn’t happening, how do we know what is our responsibility and what is just a matter of waiting for God to change us?

Changing our mood is almost always our responsibility because God is not going to change us unless we change our direction. Jesus wants to change everything about us. Everything in our lives should be impacted and affected by our faith in Jesus, he can’t change our spiritual poverty until he addresses our mental and emotional poverty. We have to change the way we think, because so much of our mood is affected by the way we think. Self-absorption is fuel for depression. Feelings lie all the time. No human being makes decision apart from emotion.

How can we be real with ourselves, God, and others and encourage those around us if we attend a church that has a different vision?

Sandals Church is unusual in our challenge of people to be real and authentic. If being real at church matters to you, you have to find a church where you can be real. Unfortunately, we often move to a place where there isn’t a church that we can connect with - which is something we should consider before accepting a new job or choosing to move in the first place.

When I get a pay increase should I just increase my tithe to the church and trust our leaders to put the money where it is needed or is it ok to decide to give to a specific thing?

We tithe to God, which means part of tithing is giving up control and releasing. If we do not believe in how our church spends money, we should go and find another church and give wholeheartedly to them instead. We can give over and above our tithe for other things. If we want to give and support specific causes that is good, but our tithe (or first 10% of our income) should go to the local church.

When we tithe, should it be from our net or gross income?

There is no definitive way to prove one over the other biblically. We should pray and ask God what he wants us to give and have a sense of peace about what we give. God loves a generous heart, and so when we give it should be with joy and in love.

Resources

Watch Pastor Matt’s message about how to be truly happy

Interested in starting to tithe or give to Sandals Church? Check out sandalschurch.com/give for more information and to set up automatic giving.

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