The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Are You Happy?

This is a question that we may think about too often. We even feel we deserve to be happy in our life. In fact, it is one of our inalienable rights as stated in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to pursue happiness. So I ask the question again. Are you happy?

First of all I want to define that happiness is based on happenings. It comes only from things on the outside such as, a raise, new car, new house or some kind of new toy or just good news. I’ve always said that happiness is like a full tank of gas. I have to admit it always feels good when I drive away from the pump, look down at my gas gauge and see it on full. It really feels good and maybe even a little safe. The other day I saw more of the analogy. Just as the full gas tank makes me feel good, over the next few days it slowly goes down. Is this not the way happiness works? We constantly have to have a new form of stimulus to maintain a level of happiness.

I used to work with a man that really personified this belief and I know I’ve done the same thing. He and his wife were constantly in search of the new __________ to fulfill their life. He would come into work all excited about his NEW purchase and within a few days or weeks that newness wore off and he would start looking for the new high. It had become a drug to them. They had already filed for bankruptcy once and were working on their second.

A few years ago I read a book called “The Screwtape Letters” and it may be where I got this idea from. This book written by C.S. Lewis describes the subtle workings of Satan and his demonic realm. The interesting thing was ultimately Satan wants to destroy us all in the end. He wants to take many people to hell with him and he wants to keep Christians distracted so they are no threat to his cause. How he does it comes in a variety of ways. He will use distractions and even benign things to keep us from the truth. His belief is that people are stupid, selfish and greedy and as long as he keeps them happy they will go through life not even acknowledging God.

So how does he keep us happy? Here in America all he has to do is entertain us, give us a little walking around money, hopes and dreams of having more money, the occasional new car, new house, occasional sex, a good party and of course a good vacation. Are any of these things wrong? Some of the things no, but some it depends on the situation. However, when they become our focus and our fear of losing them is when they become wrong. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1Timothy 6:10 I’ve heard if you want to find the corruption, then all you have to do is follow the money trail.

We have to realize that happiness is Satan’s counterfeit for God’s joy. Joy comes from the inside and works out. No matter what is going on the outside cannot affect joy. This is the real Christian testimony. Not being controlled by happenings whether good or bad. Joy needs to all ready be there. I remember hearing this man telling a story about how his house caught on fire and was burned to the ground losing everything he had except for his family. As he began looking around he realized that everything except his family could be replaced he began to smile. God filled him so much joy that he began to laugh. Then he decided he better keep it under control before the authorities thought he’s burned his own house down. So how do we get this “Joy?”

There is only one place I know of and it speaks of it over and over throughout the Bible. True joy comes from the Father through the Holy Spirit. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. Acts 2:28 But how do we get joy? I would start by asking for it. Then we have to be willing to accept God’s eternal joy and turn our backs on temporary happiness. So how do we do this? Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2