God wants us to be happy. When He tells us in the Bible to do, say, correct, believe, feel, think or share something, it is not to take away our happiness; it is to take away the things that are in the way of our full and lasting happiness. We must trust that God is after our happiness, that He knows best how to bring about our happiness, and that what He tells us in the Bible is designed to lead us into happiness. Doing what God tells us is not always easy, popular or instantly gratifying. But it is always for good, always better in the end than sin, and always the best option for making us truly, ultimately, and eternally happy.
You can talk yourself into just about anything. Other people will try to talk you into something. Only God will talk to you truthfully about everything. There are many voices that speak into our lives such as family and friends, news and social media, advertising and entertainment, and especially ourselves … but the loudest (most influential) should be God. We are being shaped by influences all around us which is why it is essential that each day we read God-breathed words in the Bible and listen to God-sent voices who speak His truth to us. When we listen to Him… He won’t just tickle our ears; He will delight our souls.
There are many things that are true about prayer. One of them is this: prayer involves seeking what we need to do what God wants. We don’t talk to God in order to secure what we need to build our own kingdoms; we talk to God to request what we need to live for His kingdom. Prayer is not a hotline to heaven we use to override His will so He will give us what we think will make us happy; it is a lifeline to heaven we use to ask Him to show us His will and make us happy with what He gives us. If we want to pray for what is best for us, this is the prayer that never fails: Your will be done in my life as it is in heaven.
Our thoughts have the power to shape us, for better or for worse, so we must let our minds land most often on Jesus. His Good News message is full of life-changing truths and promises that will guide us into a right perspective on every life issue. It changes how we see our past so we can know real freedom from guilt and shame. It changes how we see our present so we can know real purpose and peace in the midst of busyness. It changes how we see our future so we can know real hope as we joyfully anticipate what lies ahead. The more we think about Jesus, the more it will rewire how we think about everything else.
It may not be the easy way. It may not be the popular way. It may not be the crowded way. But following Jesus is always the right way. As it has been said, when the whole world is running towards the cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind. But he is actually the only one in his right mind headed the right way no matter how hard, unaccepted or lonely it may be. So, let us follow Jesus confident that He will always lead us to the right place at the right time. We’ll often be heading in the opposite direction of the crowd, but we’ll always be headed right to where we need to be.
We don’t know what it means. We don’t know what is coming. We don’t know what to do. In times when the diagnosis is unknown, the situation is unresolved, the path is unfamiliar or the outcome is uncertain, what should we do? Sometimes the thing we are to do is to do nothing. We wait. We wait on the Lord. We wait in hope on the Lord. We wait in hope on the Lord to guide us, help us and deliver us. While it’s not easy to wait, it’s comforting to know that grace is on its way and that God will make a way. As our lives are on hold, let us remember with joy this beautiful truth: God is working while we wait.
So often we don’t know what is right to do, haven’t got the desire to do what we know, and can’t do what we know and want to do that is right. We need a power from outside of us to come inside of us so we can live in such a way that God is honored and we are happy. That is exactly what God gives us: the powerful Holy Spirit living in each of us who trust in Jesus. He guides us on the way. He encourages us on the way. He helps us on the way. The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to go to good places to do good things as we share good news about a good God. Ask Him to help you decide, desire and do what is right today.
There is much I love about my heavenly Father. One thing is this: He doesn’t just let me do anything I want to do. He knows that there are many things I want to do which are not good for me or for other people. So, instead of letting me live selfishly, He removes some things from me in order to replace them with better things. His plans for my plans. His ways for my ways. His outcomes for my outcomes. The result isn’t that I experience less, but that I experience more. More peace. More joy. More hope. More purpose. Remember, when God says “No,” to something, He is saying “Yes” to something better.
There are a lot of important questions we should ask ourselves on a regular basis throughout our lives to make sure we don’t ruin our lives. These include: Who are you following? Where are you going? What will you be doing? There are consequences to who we allow to influence the direction of our lives. These can be positive or negative consequences, depending upon where we go and what we do. That’s why wisely picking your mentor, your tribe and your community is essential. Surround yourself with people who are following Jesus and join them. He will help you all go to the right places and do the right things.
If you put all of my weaknesses on one side of the scale and all of my strengths on the other side of the scale, it’s not even close in comparison. Strength wins easily. See if you agree with me on this. My weaknesses: I don’t have all the right answers. I don’t say all the right words. I don’t make all the right moves. Day after day, there are countless ways in which I am wrong, not right. My strengths: Jesus. The scale always tips to the side of grace! Day after day, He gives me the right stuff I need and forgives me for the wrong stuff I do. Let us rejoice in this good news today: His strength will overcome our weakness.
It may surprise us. It may confuse us. It may overwhelm us. But when it does, let us rest in knowing that the plan of God is good for us in the end, better than our own preferred ideas, and the best way of doing things to get what we’re both after. The mutual goal for our lives is simple: for God to be glorified in our happiness. We don’t have to choose between God being honored and us being happy. We have to choose between God’s way and our way for getting there. Trust Him today because… His plans are perfect even when we don’t think they are. Our plans are flawed even when we don’t think they are.