Mike Novotny - How Do You Find Happiness?
Every man desires to be happy. That's what one of the most famous Christians in the last 2000 years said. Around the year 400 AD, Saint Augustine, a name you may or may not have heard of, said that every man, in fact, every person desires to be happy. That's true, isn't it? In fact, even if I haven't met you, I would bet that almost everything you did this week was out of a desire to be happy. You ate that food or you chose that drink. You texted those friends, you watched that show. You clicked on that link. You tuned in to that latest series because it made you happy. In fact, I bet even the stuff you do that doesn't make you happy in the moment, you do because you desire to be happy. You go to work because you want money that will make you happy. You save money or invest it instead of spending it because you want to be happy. You say no to the soda or to the Skittles or to the six scoops of ice cream because you know tomorrow you'll feel good. It'll make you happy.
So here's my question for you. Is it working? As you think about all the choices that you've made, have they made you happy? I'm curious of your answer to that question, because if you're watching this video on your phone or on your tablet, or on your computer, you're probably one of those people on our planet who should be happy. You probably have more time, more money, more toys, more resources than most people on planet earth do. So are you happy? If you're not, why do you think you're not happy? And if you are happy, do you think that happiness will last? Or here's another question. If you're a Christian like me, should you even care? Does God care more about the right things that you believe and the right ways that you behave than some right feeling that we call happiness? Is that even a biblical thing?
Well, the great Christian author, C. S. Lewis thought so. I tracked on this interesting quote that he said on happiness. "It is a Christian duty," C. S. Lewis said, "for everyone to be as happy as he can". "It's not just icing on the cake," he claimed. "It's a Christian duty for you and for me to be as happy as we can". So what does God think about all this? Does God agree with C. S. Lewis? Should you and I as Christians care about the pursuit of happiness?
Well, here's God's answer. In Psalm 68:3 we find these words. That's a lot of happiness packed into one verse, right? Be glad, rejoice, be happy and be joyful. Apparently God wants you to be happy. And that's what I want to talk to you about this week. If Saint Augustine was right that you and I, and every human being desires to be happy, how do we get happiness? How do we find gladness that doesn't slip through our fingers? What should we seek? What should we do? What paths should we choose that leads to the maximum amount of happiness because that's what our father in heaven wants?
Now, here's the promise I'll make to you. I promise I won't give some paste on a smile. Everything's great with life kind of happiness. The Bible is a really honest book that talks about grief and loss and sin and death. So we're not going to go down that path. We're going to talk about real biblical happiness. And we're not going to cut any corners. We're not going to for short-term pleasure and doing things that God says isn't right. We're going to look for the best God pleasing happiness that the Bible has to offer.
So let me give you a little preview today. According to this passage, and according to the whole Bible, the best place to find happiness is with the presence of the right person. Let me put it this way. Let's say you have a bunch of credit card debt. Maybe you do. Let's say you've had a really tough week. Maybe you have. Let's say your significant other or your kids are stressing you out. It's very likely that they are and that they will. But what if the right person walked into the room right now? Like what if your closest friend surprised you and showed up at the office? What if a loved one that you haven't seen in forever knocked on the front door and there they were? What would happen if you're having a tough day and for some reason your dog came running into the room tail wagging. What would you do?
I bet their presence in that moment would have the power to make you happy. Even if you still had the stress, even if you still had the debt, even if your physical health wasn't perfect. If the right person is present in the room, it changes us emotionally. So here's my question. What if God was that person? I love this passage that spoke about so much happiness. It says, "May the righteous be glad and rejoice," here it is, "before God".
What if God walked into the room today? What if because of Jesus's forgiveness and your faith in Him as your savior, God was present. The God who's better than dogs and best friends and significant others and perfect families. What if the source of real happiness was simply the pursuit of God? That's the idea I want to explore with you this week. You desire to be happy and so do I, and God wants to give you as much happiness as possible in the pursuit of Him. So if you're into life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, let's seek God together. But first let's pray.
Dear God, you put that desire in our heart to crave pleasure and happiness and rest and contentment, and you know the perfect place where to find it. I ask you that you give me wisdom as I teach this week, heavenly father, that we could fix our eyes on you. That we could seek you with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength. And when we could see you, it would satisfy our souls. Help us to be happy, to rejoice, to be glad, just because you're simply in the room. We pray for open eyes and open hearts to realize the power of your presence. And we pray it all in Jesus name, amen.
So whose presence makes you the happiest? I'd love for you in the comments section to tag a person who when they walk into the room, it gives you just a little glimpse of God, a little taste of that happiness that you can experience as you think about his amazing presence. Thanks for watching this video today. And I pray that you have an amazing day.