Happiness is the most universal human desire and need. Everyone says that they want to find happiness, but very few people intentionally pursue happiness every day. Most people randomly bump into happiness and unhappiness on a regular basis. In this week’s sermon we look at the humble path to happiness.
Something To Talk About:
Philippians 2:4 says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Consider these four things if you want to have happy relationships:
- Never let my pride be my guide: Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Pride will play a role in most relationship conflicts. In any relationship, we have to guard against pride being your guide. In Galatians, Paul lists about 17 effects of living with pride. He says when we live a self-centered life, it shows up in all kinds of ways. Most of the things on the list are actually relational sins. Galatians 5:19-21 says, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear … quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy…. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” If you want to be happy in your relationships, you’ve got to have harmony. And if you’re going to have harmony, you’ve got to have humility. Never let pride be your guide.
- Be humble or I’ll stumble: Wise people remain humble. Humility and being able to learn and grow go together. Humility begins by simply realizing you’re not God. Whenever you get stressed, repeat this to yourself: “God is God, and I’m not. That’s humility. If you don’t realize that you’re not God, you’re not a humble person. The Bible says, “…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6) We should all strive to be wiser. We become wiser by getting to know God. When we have a strong relationship with God we will be wiser in building relationships, managing money, handling conflict, diffusing problems, and dealing with all kinds of other challenges in life. But we can learn from others as well if we are humble. We can learn things from the most unlikeliest sources if we remain humble enough to listen.
- Learn to pay attention: We live in an ADD world. Short attention spans and technology have limited our ability to pay attention. When you walk into a business meeting how many people are sitting there looking at their phone and texting? Our heads are always down, engrossed in something other than the other people at the meeting. A video or word game, and our earbuds keep us from hearing the people around us. Philippians 2:4 says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” If you want to have happier relationships, we need to learn the lost art of paying attention. The greatest gift you can give somebody is your attention because your attention is your time, and your time is your life. Are you interested in what your kids are interested in? Do you listen to what your spouse has to say? Do you give your coworkers your attention when they speak to you? Do you notice your neighbor as you walk by him in the morning? Learning the lost art of paying attention will transform your relationships and help you live a happy life.
- Act like Jesus: Ever feel like relationships are hard to navigate sometimes? Are you in the midst of trying to figure out a situation that’s complicated, messy and unpredictable? It is about this time that we subconsciously ask, “what would Jesus do?” When we read the Bible and learn more about who Jesus is, we see how important relationships are to Him. Jesus showed us the importance of relationships in what He said and the way He lived His life. If we asked that question and more importantly did what Jesus asks us to do, love would be non-negotiable. We would love God and love others including those we have relationships with. Jesus is the role model of how to love people. The question “What would Jesus do” is powerful and life-changing only for those who truly know Jesus and have surrendered their lives to Him.
- As Christians, should we make it a goal to be happy? What are some ways Americans pursue happiness? Do you think these bring true happiness? Or problems?
- When it comes to pride, how much is too much? In your experience, can you think of times when pride was harmful, to either yourself, others, or your community?
- In what area are you most likely to struggle with humility? Where do you tend to judge other people the most? In what ways are you overly self-focused, either with anxiety, pride, insecurity, self-promotion, or worry?
- What are the areas where we tend to go our own way and are unable or unwilling to walk in humble obedience to the Lord?
- Philippians 2:3 encourages, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Is there someone in your life you need to actively consider more important than yourself? How can you seek to humbly show preference to that person over your own desires or wants?
- How can remembering the phrase “God is God, and I’m not” reduce your stress level?
- What are some ways you can turn your attention to the people around you today? How do you show others that you are truly paying attention to what they are saying or doing?
- What are practical ways you can maintain humility in a relationship?
- How has social media kept you from developing relationships with the people you live and work with?
- How can we incorporate “what would Jesus do” into our daily lives?
- A.W. Tozer’s said that “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Agree or disagree and why?
- What can we do this week differently asa result of this message?
Take one thing home with you:
Your relationship with God directly impacts your relationships with others. In fact, the relationship we have with God shapes every facet of our lives. It is the most important relationship. In Mark 12:30, Jesus tells us that our first responsibility is to Him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” This same theme is reiterated many places in the Bible. Putting the Lord first in our lives is the most important decision we could ever make. A life built around anything else is a life built on shifting sand. Too many people today wonder why their lives are filled with so much conflict, turmoil and misery. Life will not be what you want it to be without having a relationship with God. There is no surer foundation for life than a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. It is this relationship that must be first and foremost in the life of the Christian.