Shhh…I have a secret. Come in closer and I’ll whisper it to you. I have discovered the secret to living a happy life.
If I began a conversation like that, you couldn’t help but be interested. We are all intrigued by secrets, and who doesn’t want to be happy every single day?
I do know what it takes to be truly happy and it isn’t a secret, but it is difficult. The difficulty is that it takes work – mainly on myself. Let’s take a look at the verse:
He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the LORD really wants from you: He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God. (Micah 6:8, NET)
Your first reaction might be: What? That’s it, your big secret? Already, your mind begins to offer excuses as to why that can’t possibly be the secret to happiness.
Yet, God says this is the definition of good, and this is what He really wants from me – not big acts of heroism, or beautifully crafted worship services. Just this! He wants me to seek justice every day, in every situation. That pursuit may cause me to be unpopular, though, because I live in a society that doesn’t value justice. I will certainly need to deny myself, because I can’t seek what pleases or suits me and seek justice at the same time.
Then, God asks me to be faithful. Wow! That’s hard too. We enjoy the mountain-top experiences in life. We enjoy the concerts, the trips, the adventures, but to just be faithful every day? That’s boring! That’s difficult - every day to follow the truth I know; every day to apply all the verses I’ve read; every day to live out the songs that I sing. Very quickly, I see that in order for me to be faithful, I will need to deny ME even more!
Finally, God asks that I live obediently. Some versions translate this phrase as “walk humbly”. In James 4:10, I’m told to humble myself. Again, more self-denial! I’m not to seek my pleasure, my comfort, my recognition, my _____ (fill in the blank)!
Ask me to do some great work! Ask me to sing a beautiful song! Surely there is some worthy cause I can pursue to bring glory to God! But to just live every day in faithful self-denial, shown by my obedience, and to seek what is just, no matter what? I certainly won’t get any “good job” or “well done” plaudits from my peers. But if I chase the praise of men, won’t I give up the ultimate accolade – a “well done” from my Lord? (John 12:43)
I know it seems counter-intuitive, but this is the life we are called to live. When we yield, we win. When we give up, we gain. (Mark 8:34-37) Then, we find true joy that is eternal!
Let me lose my life and find it, Lord, in Thee.
May all self be slain; my friends see only Thee.
Tho’ it cost me grief and pain, I will find my life again
If I lose myself, I'll find it, Lord, in Thee. (written by R. H. Minkler)
My name is Lynn Pauley. I'm just a normal woman, with normal struggles. Any success I've found comes from following the Scriptures. I'll update this blog as time and inspiration permit.