Seek: The Pursuit of Happiness

Posted by Jim Murphy on Friday, June 6, 2014 @ 3:13 PM

Choosing Joy is better than Chasing Happiness

James 1:16-17; Psalm 90:14

Hide & Seek is a classic game that so many of us have grown up loving to play. Isn’t it also true that when it come to our lives, most of us want to hide from pain and seek happiness? But there’s a problem with that game. As we talked about last week, pain is a part of life and you can’t hide from it. This week, we want to talk about happiness and the fact that it only lasts for a little while. What would make you happy? For most of us, the answer comes to mind pretty quickly. Is it a car; the right date; more freedom? We spend a lot of time and energy chasing down the things that make us happy. The only problem is that happiness isn't easily caught. It's slippery. We have it one minute and the next minute it's gone. The chase begins again. But what if there was something better than happiness? What if there was something more constant that didn't slip out of our grasp every time our circumstances change? It's called joy.

From James, Jesus' brother, we learn these two points: 

  1. Every good thing comes from God
    Don’t be deceived into thinking that God doesn’t want you to be happy or that God and happiness don’t go together. Don’t be deceived into thinking that God is boring and can’t make you happy.
  2. Choosing joy is better than chasing happiness
    Notice that James says that God does not change like the shifting shadows. He’s stable. He’s steady. You can count on him 100%. This means that God, who is steady, constant, and dependable, gives us good things, they are constantly good. This leads not only to happiness...but to a deeper joy. Happiness is an emotion that only lasts for a short time that comes from our circumstances. Joy is a deeper, longer-lasting form of happiness that comes from knowing and loving God. Choosing joy means choosing what is good, not what is quick and easy. Choosing joy means choosing what will last, not what will pass.

There are two ways you can begin choosing joy

  1. Say Thanks
    You’re going to experience good things and bad things in life. But, there is always something good to be thankful for. When you choose to look for things to be thankful for, you will find them. Take some time to write down three things for which you’re thankful.

  2. Enjoy love
    Enjoy God’s love; no strings attached. Moses found joy in God’s love (Psalm 90:14). You’ll find joy when you appreciate how much God loves you, no strings attached. You just need to choose to receive and enjoy His love. 

God wants more than happiness for you. He wants something better that lasts longer. He wants you to know that Choosing Joy is Better than Chasing Happiness.

Small Group Questions

  1. Write down three things in your life for which you are thankful.

  2. Describe the difference between chasing happiness and choosing joy.

  3. In what ways do you think you might be chasing happiness instead of choosing joy? 

The content of this post is based on curriculum provided by Orange: XP3.
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These posts are from the weekly lessons at Wednesday night FUEL. They are designed to share with you an outline of the content of our discussions, the small group questions, and ideas for conversations at home. Feel free to use these for your own conversations or lessons.

Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy, Associate Pastor, NextGen MinistriesAssociate Pastor NextGen Ministries

218-751-3699 ext 14



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