Mike Novotny - The Path to the True Pursuit of Happiness
Apparently I can be kind of a jerk as a dad. That's what some people say when I tell them this story. Now, whenever my daughters and I go to the store and of course, they want to walk up and down the toy aisles, they'll always ask me the classic kid question, "Oh, daddy, can we get this"? And I always ask them two questions. The first question is, "Well, sweetie, do you think that would make you happy"? And their answer is always, of course, a hard yes. "Yes, Daddy. Yes, daddy. Make us so happy".
And that's when I pull a second question on them, what some people think is the mean question. It's just the two-word question and it goes like this: "How long"? I'm sure that would make you happy for a little bit, but how long? How long would that toy, that purchase, that little gift bring you joy? And my girls kind of lose the smile on their face, 'cause they know I have 1,000 toys in the toy room that can be used as evidence that the latest purchase doesn't make you happy for very long.
So what do you think? Am I bad dad? Maybe a little bit mean and yeah, sometimes I spoil my kids with toys that are temporary, but really what I'm trying to do is prepare my daughters for adult life. See, it doesn't matter if you're 10 or 11 or 20 or 21 or 41 or 62, that same temptation always leads us away from God. Something that we think we need, it's going to make us so happy and we just haven't asked the question for how long? There's a lot of great things in life and God isn't opposed to us getting them, but sometimes we're so focused on those temporary bits of pleasure, that we forget the source and the spring, the place to find true happiness, which is in the presence of God.
That's why I love the Apostle Paul. He taught me to be happy and I'm trying to pass his teaching onto my daughters. He said that on the good days and the bad days, when he had plenty to eat and nothing at all, when he had all the toys in his possession and when there was nothing but his fingerprints in his hands, he could be happy. Maybe you've heard Philippians Chapter Four. Paul says, He goes on to say, "Don't be anxious about anything", and then he mentions this peace of God that goes beyond understanding. He says that he's learned the secret of being content in any and every circumstance. And guess what he says right in the middle of that amazing section? He's rejoicing always. He's learned to be content. He has this crazy peace.
I love this little line at the end of verse five. He says, "The Lord is near". Paul believed in the Lord in this amazing God. A God who is better than, than toys and relationships and funny videos on the internet and the latest got to watch it series on Netflix. He believed in God and Paul believed that because of Jesus' death, because of his resurrection from the dead, that Lord was near and Paul knew that he had had something that no store could sell him. He had the source and the spring, the secret of true happiness. One old Christian put it this way. He said, God is the author of all true happiness. God is the maintainer of all true happiness. God is the center of all true happiness. Therefore, the person who has God is the only happy man in the world.
I want you to think about this week. When you're tempted to sin, when you're about to cross that line and say something you shouldn't or do something that God doesn't want you to do. I want you to think about God, not some little God, but some amazing God, a God who is big enough and beautiful enough and creative enough and kind enough to actually make you happy. Because if that kind of God fills your heart you've learned the secret of being content. You know, the spiritual power source to say no to sin. And you have found out the path that is the true pursuit of happiness. So, I'm praying for you today, that you won't just believe in God, but a God who is big enough to make you happy. Let's pray.
Oh God, if you pull back the veil, if you opened our eyes to see you everything in this life would seem so small and unworthy of our happiness. We can't see you face to face just yet and so we're praying for spiritual eyes to see that as great as food and entertainment and friends and family are that you are so much more. As Paul said today today, help us to rejoice in you. Help us to be able to answer those two questions that you God would make us happy for how long? Forever, because you are the eternal God And because of Jesus, you're ours. We pray this in our Savior's name. Amen.
So if you're a mom or a dad, a grandparents, maybe an uncle or an aunt, what do you say to kids when they're looking for happiness in the wrong places. I'd love to hear your answers in the comment section below. That we can raise up a generation who finds as much happiness as they can in the only spot that works, in the presence of God. Thanks for your comments. And we'll catch you next time.