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Spiritual matters

Happiness comes from proper priorities

June 02, 2010 - A father was trying to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon in his living room.

His little boy kept bugging him. "Daddy, I'm bored." So his father, trying to make up a game to keep his son busy, found a picture of a world map in the newspaper.

He ripped it up in about fifty pieces and said, "Son, this is a puzzle. I want you to put it all back together."

Dad lay down to finish his nap, thinking he would get at least another hour of sleep. In about 15 minutes the little boy woke him up. "Daddy, I've got it finished. It's all put together."

His dad said, "You're kidding." He knew his son didn't know all the positions of the nations and countries.

He said, "How did you do that?" The boy said, "Dad, there was a picture of a person on the back page of that newspaper. When I got my person put together the world looked just fine."

It's amazing how much better the world looks when your person is put together in the right way. A few months ago I spoke to my congregation on HOW TO BE HAPPY. In that series we took an honest look at ourselves –our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. We learned two key things.

First, we learned that God wants us to be happy. Somewhere people have gotten the idea that God is an ogre! He's mean and he doesn't want you to have any fun.

And if you really sell out to God and live a life of obedience to him then you'll be miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Jesus said, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." (John 16:24) Jesus wants us to have joy!

Question. If Jesus wants us to be happy, then why are there so many unhappy people, even Christian people?

Lots of people look like they've been baptized in prune juice. I think the answer has to do with the second thing we learned in our series: Happiness is a by-product of living well.

Many of us have divorced our spirituality from the rest of our life.

"I go to church and say my prayers and so I'm spiritual! Oh, by the way, I'm mean to my neighbor. I'm lazy at work, and I have lust issues."

Somehow we've lost the truth that Jesus cares about all of life. It's not like you can have your "religion" over here and your "life" over there.

If we're going to be happy the way Jesus wants us to be happy, then we've got to live the way Jesus wants us to live.

Are you happy? Maybe you have some real-life issues that are blocking your happiness. Maybe you're a people-pleaser and lack proper boundaries. Maybe you're a control-freak who's into power plays. Maybe you have an addiction to food, pornography, or alcohol.

You won't find happiness by singing to Jesus on Sunday morning and ignoring these issues the rest of the week.

Get real. Get honest. Let Jesus in. That's the way to be happy.

The Rev. Greg Henneman is pastor of Clarkston Community Church

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