The Christ-Centered Pursuit of Happiness
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In today’s culture, happiness is a primary goal. Everyone wants happiness. And historically, it’s woven into the very fabric of our American society: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Perhaps you’d like to be happier this year than you were in 2018. At Agave Sozo in Chandler, we strongly support that goal.
There is a subtle distinction between joy and happiness. It’s good to be both joyful and happy as a Christian, but for the sake of this discussion, we’ll focus on happiness. As believers going after happiness, it’s important that our pursuit revolves around the right things.
What Do We Mean By ‘Christ-Centered Pursuit of Happiness’?
A Christ-centered pursuit of happiness does not mean that your happiness revolves solely around spiritual or religious practices. Giving honor is an important part of finding God-centered happiness. In fact, everything in your life is spiritual and is deserving of honor. In order to break it down a little bit, here are a few places where giving true honor can help lead to true happiness.
Honor Your Body
In the first chapter of the Bible, we learn that man and woman were created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). There is something about the way our physical bodies are designed that carries the DNA of the divine. In addition, the Bible refers to our bodies as living temples of God. And because God lives in us, we are to honor Him with our bodies. (1 Cor. 6: 19-20). Wow! That is incredible when you really think about it.
Practically, the implications are enormous. Our bodies aren’t just a means of transport to take us from place to place. They’re not something we ignore until we’re sick or injured. It matters how we fuel our bodies and nurture them; whether we get enough rest and enough exercise; whether we treat our bodies with love and kindness, or hate and apathy; how we let other people treat our bodies; how we treat other peoples’ bodies; the list goes on. If you are looking for happiness, begin by considering ways in which you can better honor your body.
Honor Your Emotions
We aren’t just spiritual beings or physical beings or intellectual beings; We are emotional beings, too. That doesn’t mean our emotions rule us. But rather, our emotions, both good and bad, give us insight into how we are experiencing and interpreting the world around us. As such, our emotions can become pathways to deeper intimacy with God and ultimately, to more happiness.
In moments of turmoil, we can cry out with the Psalmist, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me…”
And when life feels like it can’t get any better, we can shout with delight, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
Honor Your Mind
What we set our minds on and how we choose to use our intellect can either lead to abundance and happiness, or emptiness and sadness. The mind that is stayed on God is filled with peace. And it’s not just the thoughts we have about God that are important, it’s the nature of our thoughts in general. Are they kind and good and pure and lovely? These thoughts will produce the fruit of happiness in your life and in the lives of those around you. Particularly, when our thoughts are filled with lies about ourselves and self-hatred (the tapes we constantly play in our subconscious), they erode our wellbeing and health. We are to take our thoughts captive instead of letting our thoughts control you.
Honor Your Brother
Jesus said, “ So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matt 7:12).” If we are made in the image of God, and therefore, we inherently deserve love, honor, and respect, so does every other human being—even our enemies! Others’ bodies deserve honor. Others’ hearts and emotional well-being should be honored. And others’ minds and intellects should be honored.
The Greatest Commandment
In another passage, the greatest commandment is summed up by Jesus as, “to love your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And to love your neighbor as yourself.” At Agave Sozo, we think this also sums up our Christ-centered path to happiness. Of course, this is only the foundation or the starting point. The implications of following this commandment are deep and far-reaching, and there’s certainly not enough room in one blog post to discuss them all!
The pursuit of happiness is a process. If you’re struggling in any of these areas we’ve mentioned, or you’re experiencing depression, you may need others to come alongside and help you in your pursuit of happiness. As an inner healing prayer ministry in Chandler, we have numerous testimonies of people who have been set free to live their fullest lives. Healing can come so that your joy and happiness are gradually restored. If you are curious to find out more about our Sozo ministry or to make an appointment, call us today!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/20/2019) Pixaby