How do you live a happy life? For you, what would result in happiness?
We may have a list. If I have this. Or if I have that. If I’m able to accomplish this. Or if this happens at work, or at home, or in my own life, then I’ll be happy. We’ve probably all got our list of what we want, or want to happen, in our lives, that will make us happy.
I was thinking about that today when I read what Paul had to say in Philippians 2: 1-4. Listen to what he shares with us:
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
He actually gives us the secret to happiness. As tempting as it would be to think that our happiness will come from getting what we want, or doing what we want, our having our needs or wants met, Paul turns that on its head.
If there anything good, be of the same mind with each other. Don’t be selfish, don’t act selfishly. Regard others as better than you, and look to their interests first.
That sounds good, until you actually think about it. Regard others as better than you. I don’t (and don’t want to) do that. I want to do what I want when I want it. We all do, don’t we, to some extent.
And that’s what our culture tells us. Our culture tells us that happiness comes from our stuff, from us being in charge, from us being number one. Live your life the way that you want, doing what you want, achieving what you want because it’s all about you, your life, your contentment.
Today, though, we see the secret. We see the secret to true happiness and life. It’s not about us.
The Gospel is so countercultural. The Gospel says – it’s not really about you. In fact, to find life, give it away. To find happiness, stop worrying about it. To really live, live for others.
And I guarantee, if we try that Gospel-life we will find happiness a lot faster than any other way. We think in living for what we think we want, we will find that happiness we desire. We won’t.
But when we live that Gospel-life, living for Jesus, loving others, serving, giving, we find abundant, eternal life.
Today, you were made for that abundant, Gospel-centered life. Today, live thinking of others first. Give it a test drive. Try it and see. And see if you aren’t, in the end, happy.