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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Choose To Be Happy

Joel Osteen - Choose To Be Happy

Joel Osteen - Choose To Be Happy
TOPICS: 15 Ways to Live Longer and Healthier, Happiness

Every morning, when we wake up, we are given a choice. We get to choose how we will live that day. We can live it in faith, happy, expecting God's favor, or we can choose to go through our day discouraged, defeated, focused on our problems. Happiness doesn't automatically happen. It's a choice that we have to make. We can't wait to see what kind of day it's going to be. We have to decide what kind of day it's going to be. If you don't decide how you're going to live, circumstances will decide for you. You'll see every problem and think it's not going to work out: think, "I don't feel like going to work," "I don't feel very good at all," "I never get any good breaks, so why even bother"? When you dwell on those thoughts, you're choosing to have a lousy day.

The scripture says, "Joy comes in the morning". Every morning, God sends you a fresh supply of joy. Every morning, you can receive that joy. Hey, things may not be perfect in my life, but I know God's on the throne. He's ordering my steps. His plans for me are for good, so I'm going to enjoy this day. The Bible says, in life, there will be troubles. Life won't be perfect. There will always be delays, betrayals, disappointments. If we're going to be happy, we have to be happy on purpose. We have to put our foot down and say, "That's it. I'm not letting my circumstances steal my joy. I will rejoice. I will be glad. I will live this day to the fullest". This is exactly what David did. He faced all kinds of opposition, armies trying to stop him, people slandering him, his own father-in-law trying to kill him, but even in the middle of his struggles, he said, "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it".

Now, if he had let his circumstances decide for him, he surely would have been discouraged, afraid, and lonely. Instead, he made this declaration of faith: "Despite the opposition, I will be happy. Despite these people lying about me, I will be happy. Despite my family not believing in me, I'm going to live this day happy". I played basketball with a young man who was always in a good mood, so friendly and upbeat. One day, after a game, I asked if he wanted to go get something to eat. He said, "No, I have to go to the clinic. I'm taking chemotherapy". He had been fighting cancer for three years. Such a surprise to me. I couldn't tell anything was wrong. I said, "I'm so sorry to hear that". He said, "Don't feel sorry for me. Life is good. I'm blessed, have a beautiful wife and a new son. I'm grateful to be alive".

We can't get away from negative circumstances, but a mark of maturity is when you can be happy even when things aren't going your way, when your joy is not based on your circumstances. I wonder how much more we would enjoy our lives if we would do what he did and start choosing to be happy. David said, in Psalm 144, "Happy are the people whose God is the Lord". The reason we can be happy is that our God is on the throne. He controls the universe. He's our provider, our healer, our vindicator, our way maker. No person can stop him, no bad break, no sickness, no addiction. All the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has ordained for your life. You and I are not here by accident. God could've chosen anyone to be alive in this day. There are billions of people who have lived and died, but God handpicked you and me to be here at this time. He woke you up this morning. He gave you strength to get out of bed. He's crowned you with favor. He puts seeds of greatness in you. He calls you "More than a conqueror," "The head and not the tail".

One way we honor God is by living happy. He didn't create you to drag through the day, overcome by problems, discouraged by disappointments. No, this day is a gift from God. "But, Joel, I'd be happier, but I've been through some hurts. People did me wrong". I say this respectfully, but everyone's been hurt. We all have. You can use that as an excuse and let it sour the rest of your life, or you can say, "Father, thank you for entrusting me with another day: I'm not going to take it for granted," "I'm going to choose to be happy," "I'm going to live this day to the full". You can't control how everyone treats you, but you can control how you respond. When someone is rude, you don't have to get upset. When they cut you off in traffic, that day doesn't have to be ruined. When a coworker leaves you out, you can stay in peace, knowing that God is fighting your battles.

When you take the high road, you'll enjoy your life more. You'll see God trust you with more influence and more favor. Sometimes we've trained ourselves to respond a certain way: "If that person says this, I'm going to get upset". "If my crazy uncle makes fun of me one more time, I'm going to tell him off". The problem is you're letting them control you. Why don't you take your controls back? Jesus said, "Stop allowing yourself to get upset". Someone can't make you get upset. You have to give them permission to upset you. You have to make the choice, "I'm offended," "I'm discouraged," "I'm sour". No, the next time someone pushes your buttons, just smile and say, "Not this time".

The apostle Paul went through plenty of bad breaks. 2 Corinthians 11, he lists some of these difficulties: five times, he received 39 lashes. Three times, he was beaten with rods. Once, he was stoned. Three times, he'd been shipwrecked. He'd been bitten by poisonous snakes. He faced angry mobs, fought off bandits, survived flooded rivers, and spent many sleepless nights in jail. After being in prison for two years on false charges, he was brought before king Agrippa for his trial, acts 26, when he stood up to give his defense, the first thing Paul said was "King Agrippa, I think myself happy".

Now by any normal standards, Paul had every reason to see himself as a victim, to be bitter and angry. Instead, Paul shows us a secret of how to overcome that. He said, "I think myself happy". He said, "I consider myself fortunate to stand before you even though my accusers want me to be put to death". I'm not saying to deny the negative, but I am saying to not dwell on it. Don't relive what didn't work out. Don't replay the loss, the disappointment, the failure. You can't move forward if you're looking back. You can't enjoy today if you're focused on yesterday. Like Paul, you can think yourself happy. God has given you this day, and he's given you a choice: by his grace, you can choose to embrace every blessing, every opportunity, and every bit of joy that he has for you.

I found that I'm at my happiest and healthiest when I'm with people who inspire me to pursue God's best. My wife, Victoria, is an incredible voice of wisdom and encouragement in my life and in the lives of so many others. I wanted to sit down with her and discuss some of these strategies that have helped our church, our family, and our relationships grow stronger and healthier over the years.

Joel Osteen: We're talking about choosing to be happy, and I found it so important how we start our day, and my father taught me from the time I was a little boy, me and all my siblings, that when you get up in the morning, to just take a moment to thank God for the day, and he always taught us to say, "Something good is going to happen to me today," and I've learned to do that now, and, you know, does it mean something good happens every day? No, some days, it's a lot of difficult things, but, you know, it's just an attitude of "I'm grateful to be alive. God, I recognize this gift of today, and I commit this day into your hands". I think, too often, we're waiting for happiness to come, but we have to make that decision that we're going to live each day happy.

Victoria Osteen: You know, the first time that I heard you say, "Today is going to be a great day," you probably said it a hundred times, and I really didn't grasp it, but when you get up in the morning, you always go, "Victoria, it's going to be a great day," and one day, I thought, "He says that every single morning". I remember telling you that, and, that's really good, and now I wait to hear it. I really do. I wait to hear you say, "It's going to be a great day," but I think that's what it takes. It takes what we decide we're going to think about, what we're going to focus on, and, I mean, not every day is a good day, and some days you don't feel good when you get up. Some days, you might have a headache or you might have so much to do, and you felt like you're struggling, but that's those times that you've got to kind of change your perspective, and you know what I've done in my life is that I've had to, like you said earlier, I had to find something to be grateful for because I think that's the best way to change my perspective and to really realize that this may seem hard and this may seem like it's just terrible, but there's always something worse that could be happening, and, you have to start looking at the good things that are happening in your life so that you can change that perspective and be grateful, and it's a matter of just stirring that up, you know, not letting those negative thoughts just continue to swirl in your head so...

Joel Osteen: Yeah, I think it's so good, and I think about the scripture too. It says to set your mind and keep it set because all through the day, there are things coming against us, trying to keep us, you know, get us unset from being happy or being grateful, but, you know, you have to realize that, you know, I've learned this: at the start of the day, if you can make up your mind that "No matter what comes my way this day, I'm going to still stay in peace: I'm going to still be happy," and, you know, some of these days when we're traveling, I remember that one time we were coming back from overseas, and we missed our flight, and then it was delayed because of weather, and on and on. Do you know, you have to just say, "God, you have me in the palm of your hand". You can fight it, you can get upset, or you can just say, "I'm going to choose to embrace where I am," and, really, what helps you to stay there with a good attitude is just being joyful about it. I don't mean we're laughing every minute, but I think you can be content, and you think, "Well, my plans didn't work out. That's all right. I'm going to enjoy right where I am today".

Victoria Osteen: You know, I had a friend of mine whose son was deployed overseas, and she was so worried about him, and every day I saw her, just the worry on her face, and she got to where she really wasn't even performing her day well, and, you know, I was trying to cheer her up, and I wasn't trying to, you know, discount the fact that he was in trouble. We prayed, and we believed, but I told her, I go, "You've got to think about what your face is doing, you know, because, when you're all down and discouraged, your face is all crumpled down". So, one day, I gave her a pencil, and I said, "Let's put this pencil in our mouth". You remember that? I told you about that story, and we had that pencil in our mouth, and it makes your face, you know, curl up, but by the time we finished, we were laughing, and it was a real lesson to say, you know, sometimes you've got to notify your face. You've got to say, "Just put a smile on your face," because, when you do that, it seems like your whole body begins to respond differently, and so I really think, too, that we would just stop and just say, "I'm going to smile. I'm just going to smile by faith," and that's what I've had to do so many times. "I'm just going to smile by faith". Like, I'm just going to begin to see good things happening and smile by faith, and I'm telling you, it changes your body chemistry.

Joel Osteen: Yeah, there's even studies that tell us that, when you smile, it sends a message to your whole body. Even endorphins are released that, just, you know, tell your body that everything's going to be okay, and I think about even when my mom, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in 1981. She's alive today, and, you know, it was a miracle, but one thing my mother did during that time, instead of just being depressed, of course, she quoted scriptures and prayed and all that, but one thing she did is she watched funny shows on television. She wanted to laugh. It was so easy to be depressed and to be discouraged, but she made herself laugh, and I think that, sometimes, smiling by faith, making the decision "It's going to be a good day," "I'm going to enjoy it, relax, choosing to be happy," I mean, this day is a gift from God. Let's live it to the full, and let's make that decision that we're going to live it full of joy as well.

I've made it a habit to wake up every morning and tell Victoria, "Today is going to be a great day". Before the day starts, I like to get my mind going in the right direction. I'm choosing to think myself happy: "God, I'm grateful to be alive. I'm excited about my future. I know you're taking me from glory to glory that I haven't seen, heard, or imagined what you have in store". When you think happy thoughts, not only lifts your spirit, but it affects your health. Awhile ago, there were some birds right outside our bedroom window. Five o'clock in the morning, rain or shine, hot or cold, those birds would wake up and sing their joyful song. It sounded like a symphony every morning at 5 o'clock. I wanted to ask those birds, "Why are you so happy? Haven't you read the news? There are problems in the world. Price of gas is high. The supply chain is messed up. How can you be singing"?

It's interesting how God puts something in those birds to start the day off singing. They're saying, in effect, "Life is good. We're happy. We're going to enjoy this day". What would happen if we would have that song of praise every morning? Like those birds, we were not moved by the circumstances, but we sing in the dark when things aren't going our way. We sing in the storm when circumstances are against us. We sing in the cold when we don't feel like it. We could be discouraged, complaining, stressed, but instead, we're making that choice that we're going to live this day happy. After the apostle Paul was wrongfully imprisoned, he pleaded his case to the authorities. In the end, he was sent right back to the prison. You would think now he would surely be discouraged. Surely, he'd be complaining. No, in prison, he wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice". He was telling us, "Even when it doesn't go your way, keep giving God praise. Keep thanking God that he's working. Keep being grateful when you could be complaining".

Happiness is not dependent on what's going on around you. It's dependent on what's going on inside you. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "Be happy in the faith, glad-hearted continually". Once again, he reminds us of the choice we have every day. We can choose to be happy. We can be joyful no matter how people treat us, in spite of our disappointments, even when our plans don't work out. Don't let the negative circumstances talk you out of living happy. The other day, I was driving down the road in a hurry to get to an appointment. There was a car in front of me going 20 miles an hour in a 45-mile-an-hour zone, so it was one-lane street with no way to pass, and my first thought was, you know, blow the horn, "Come on, get out of my way". I could feel my blood pressure rising, but then I did what I'm asking you to do. I made a choice to think differently: "God, I know you're in control. You're ordering my steps. Thank you that it's a good day, that I'm healthy, I'm blessed, that I have a bright future".

Just like that, I switched over to happy thoughts, and not long after that, they turned. In the scripture, the prophet Habakkuk put it this way: "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crops fails and the fields produced no food", everything was going wrong for Habakkuk: business was down, his crops weren't producing, his income was limited, but he didn't stop there. He went on to say, "Yet when I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation". In this passage, Habakkuk is saying, "Even when I'm not seeing increase, even when things aren't going my way, even when slow drivers delay me, even when the medical report hasn't improved, I'm not going to fall apart. I'm going to still thank God that I'm alive. I'm choosing joy. I have a purpose, and good things are in store".

What about you? Are you thinking yourself sad, thinking yourself discouraged, thinking yourself a victim? If so, it's time to start thinking happy thoughts. The scripture says our life is like a vapor. We're here for a minute, then we're gone. Hundred years from now, we'll probably all be finished. I believe that, if we really understood how valuable each day is, we would live it happier.

A pastor friend of mine went to visit a 35-year-old mother in the hospital. She had cancer and wasn't supposed to have lived through the previous night. Despite being so frail and having lost her hair, she smiled warmly and said in a faint voice, "Pastor, this is the best day of my life". He was puzzled. She added, "You see, I didn't know if I was going to wake up this morning. Now God has blessed me with another day to see my children, another day to spend with my family. If I make it through this day, tonight I'm going to look out the window and look up at the stars. I'm going to enjoy the moonlight".

I think we should be the happiest people on earth. There should be a difference between us and people that don't honor God. When you go to work, everyone may be complaining, discouraged, talking defeat. Don't fall into that trap. Stay full of joy. Keep a smile on your face. Keep thinking happy thoughts. This world needs more happy people. You may have some difficulties, things you could be sour about, things that could take your joy, but if you'll keep the right perspective, recognizing that this day is a gift from God, then it's much easier to not be sidetracked by all the worries. Instead, you can think thoughts of gratitude, blessing, and joy. Every day, you can choose to live the abundant life that God has for you.

An abundant life starts on the inside and works its way out. You should be your biggest encourager because your happy, healthy life can't happen without you. Here are some words to live by. Every day, I choose joy. God has me in the palm of his hand. I never have to worry. As a child of God, I am unoffendable and quick to forgive. I forgive because I am forgiven. As the scripture says:

I am strong in the Lord and the power of his might.

in all circumstances, I will bless the Lord, for this is the day he has made.

God is on the throne. He is ordering my steps. He is providing for my every need.

I can surrender my worries, my burdens, and all my cares into his hands.

I look forward to tomorrow, but embrace the present.

I have grace for today, and God will give me grace for tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

I'll fight for those who cannot fight for themselves because my God fights for me.

my rest comes from God. He is the one who restores my soul.

I am who God says I am, and I will reach my full God-given potential no matter what comes my way. I have everything I need to live an abundant life.

When Paul came to the end of his life, he said, "I have finished my course with joy". We're all going to go to be with the Lord at some point. I don't want to go discouraged, feeling like a victim: "Look what I've been through," "Why did this happen"? No, let's go full of joy, seeing each day as the best day, getting up each morning and choosing to be happy. Let's say with David, "It's not about how I feel. I will rejoice. I will be glad". Let's get in the habit of thinking happy thoughts. If you'll do this, I believe and declare you're going to live happier. You're going to enjoy your life more. Forces that have held you back are being broken. God is about to release you into new levels of favor, freedom, fulfillment. You, too, will finish your course with joy. Hope you'll join me next time as we explore more ways to live longer and healthier. My prayer is that these strategies will help you make a real change that lasts not just for a week or for a month but for the rest of your life.
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