The overall question this week in Church from Sunday school and from behind the pulpit was… Does God want us, those of us who believe happy? Does He want to give us everything we need and want? Or does He want us to be obedient and holy? I love when Sunday school and the sermon preached say the same thing. I always say to people God never-never promises us a rose garden, BUT He will help us tip toe through the tulips… I had thought that was original from me but recently found out that the tulip part came from Tiny Tim. Go figure! The sermon title was Why isn’t life a rose garden? From 1 Peter 1:3-9 as this was being preached it got me thinking of the discussion we had in Sunday school that morning about being happy.
Think about those persecuted Christian in 1 Peter 1:1-9 They were being used as torches, set on fire to light Nero’s streets… “Put on a happy face” Are we called as Christians to put on a happy face? Sometime I sense this could be our theme song…
Gray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up, Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy, It’s not your style;
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad Ya’ decide to smile!
Pick out a pleasant outlook, Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that “full of doubt” look, Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place, Just put on a happy face!
Put on a happy face
Put on a happy face
Was the apostle Paul always HAPPY? With all the trials and suffering he went through, It reminded me of what he said in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29…
Are they servants of Christ?-I speak as if insane-I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:10-14 that he was content But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
That wouldn’t make me happy to have gone through what the apostle Paul went through, nobody would be happy. Do you think he woke up every morning and said Happy, Happy, Happy and sang that tune “Put on a Happy Face” Paul said “I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” Paul response is “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly” In my opinion Happiness and Joy are two different things, You win the lottery you’re gonna be happy, you spend all the money you’re not. Joy comes from within… Paul says I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
James said Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, James 1:2-5
- Are you suffering for Christ? Count in all Joy
- Are you being persecuted for your faith? Count in all Joy
- Are you going through trials in your life? Count in all Joy
I can’t do that I’m not strong enough, I’m to weak good, that’s right where you need to be. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
We need His strength to get through these circumstances in our lives and you know what else wouldn’t hurt if we as Christians come together and share in each other circumstances Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. Philippians 4:14 Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. and Bearing one anther’s burdens Galatians 6:2
I’m not a happy camper all the time, but I know Him who has saved me and He will see me through… Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12 Peter called these persecuted Christians aliens 1 Peter 1:1 were not of this world were just passing through… Paul said, “But our citizenship is in heaven,” Philippians 3:17-21 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
How many reading this will join in following Paul’s example… Because we are citizens of heaven we can live in great expectation of Christ’s return. No matter your trial, no matter your suffering… our Joy, your Joy if you are in Christ is that we live in the hope that one day, we will see Him face to face and be with Him in glory.