Doug Johnson: Finding the secret to true happiness is the key
Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 14, 2024
True happiness is sometimes hard to find with all the bad news around us.
Some people measure happiness by their level of success. However, success is often judged by whether you get what you want. Happiness is different – it depends on wanting what you get.
The following “daily dozen” were the personal creed of author Robert Louis Stevenson:
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1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
2. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with the gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
3. Do not take yourself too seriously. Do not think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others.
4. You cannot please everybody. Do not let criticism worry you.
5. Do not let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.
6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
7. Do not borrow trouble. Imaginary burdens are harder to bear than the actual ones.
8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish enmities or grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
9. Have many interests. If you cannot travel, read about new places.
10. Do not hold postmortems nor spend your life brooding over sorrows and mistakes. Do not be one who never gets over things.
11. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
12. Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.
I think the apostle Paul would agree with Stevenson’s “daily dozen” creed. He wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (NIV)
So where can true happiness be found? Not in unbelief, Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote, “I wish I had never been born.”
Not in pleasure, Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure. He wrote, “The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone.”
Not in money, Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying he said, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Not in position and fame, Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote, “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.”
Not in military glory, Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, because, he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”
Apostle Paul knew true happiness can only be found in Jesus Christ—the One who gives us strength to do all things.
Have you met Him yet?
If not, read the rest of what Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 4 and see how Christ can help you find true happiness.
Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.