I’ll be happy when…
I’m out from under my parents’ authority.
I graduate college.
I have more friends.
I have a steady boyfriend.
I have more of a social life.
I get married.
I have a child.
I get a better job.
I make more money.
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My husband is saved.
My husband serves the Lord…in church and out.
My husband acts right. 🙂
My child is potty trained.
My children are happy.
All of my children are living for the Lord.
The list really could go on and on. What would you add to my list?
I used to play this “I’ll be happy when…” game with myself. We probably all have. And, if we’re honest, we still have to fight this way of thinking. (Philippians 4:8)
Thankfully the Lord helped me years ago to see that I was wishing my life away and ignoring the real reason for my unhappiness—myself!
I remember one day being at the end of my rope with trying to figure out why my marriage wasn’t what I had hoped. Out of a sense of total frustration, I cried out to the Lord, “Is it me?”
I meant it rhetorically. But God answered anyway. With an emphatic, “YES!”
In our reading this week in John chapter 13, Jesus gives His disciples an example to follow. He washes their feet. He gives further instruction and adds—
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. John 13:17
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you have within you everything you need for happiness. You have Him—in the person of the Holy Spirit! With Him you have the ability to DO all that it takes to BE happy.
And what is that?
Obedience, doing what Jesus commands, is a choice. Therefore, our happiness is up to us! We can choose to obey God and be happy. Or, we can choose to disobey God and continue to be miserable.
Like Joshua said—“choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Joshua 24:15)
Your choice. My choice.Jesus says, “If ye know these things.” What things? What things are we to DO in order to be happy? Wash peoples’ feet?
No. Jesus gives His disciples an example of humility and service by washing their feet. He then reminds them that “The servant is not greater than his lord.” And tells them to do as He has done. (John 13:15-16)
What Jesus is telling us is that we are to be humble enough to view ourselves as servants—His servants. As His humble servant, we will be willing to DO all that He has commanded—including serving others.
And happiness will follow our humble, heart-felt obedience.
Are you happy? Truly joy-filled? If not, then are you doing those things you already know are right to do, according to God’s Word? Such as—
reading God’s Word each day, seeking to know Him better
praying every day, depending on Him for help and comfort
attending church faithfully
giving to the Lord in tithes and offerings
telling others about Jesus
forgiving others as God has forgiven you
treating others as you would have them treat you
These things are the very basics of the Christian walk. If these things are lacking in your life, you can be sure that life’s circumstances will be overwhelming. And happiness will be scarce. Partly due to a guilty conscience.
You might think—“But even if I do these things, my life will still be the same. Things won’t magically change.” You know, you could be right.
But you could be wrong.
Either way, whether your circumstances improve or not—they could always get worse! And likely will…the longer you live in disobedience to what you know is right.
Regardless, Jesus doesn’t promise us the life that we envision. He promises happiness…IF we DO the things He has shown us are His will. If we follow His example of humble service and love for others, which encompasses the keeping of all His commands. (Romans 13:10)
Including His command to rejoice, or be joyful. Jesus actually commands us to be happy!
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
We are to be joyful Christians. How else can we show the world the wonderful difference that belonging to Christ makes?
Notice that rejoicing, happiness, is found “in the Lord.” Only “in His presence is fullness of joy.”
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11
True joy, happiness, comes from within, from the Lord within.
Joy, after all, is a fruit of the Spirit! Therefore, joy can never come from, and be maintained by, the externals of life.
Changed circumstances will never make you or me happy.
When one problem is taken care of, one or two more will take its place. Our human nature won’t allow for happiness to come from without. Our greed for more will never allow us to be satisfied by what we have…the circumstances of our life.
However, true joy and happiness is ours for the choosing… if we will stay close to our Saviour seeking, trusting, and obeying Him…no matter what our circumstances are at present.
You don’t have to let your circumstances defeat you. Because “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Instead of saying, “I’ll be happy when…my circumstances change,”—you can say, “I’ll be happy because…I trust in God’s love and His plans for me.”
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
Sometimes things happen in our lives that are more serious than most of the things I’ve listed at the beginning of this article. If you find that after you are doing all you can to obey your Saviour, but are still feeling defeated and hopeless, truly depressed, please seek wise counsel. Your pastor, a Christian counselor, and/or physician will gladly help you work through the issues involved.
And remember, there is hope in the Lord.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning! (Psalm 30:5)
Do you battle unhappiness? What do you do to help you get victory and regain joy?