Happy New Year. That’s a phrase we’ll be hearing a lot over the next few weeks. If you really stop to think about it, that’s a lot to ask. Is it possible to have a whole year of happiness?
It’s a nice sentiment, but there’s a good chance that there will be things during this coming year that aren’t happy at all. Perhaps your marriage will hit bumpy times; or maybe you’ve worked for years at a job but suddenly the company is downsizing and your job is in jeopardy. What then?
These things aren’t things that make up a happy new year. Instead of wishing to be happy for the entire year, it might be better to resolve to take life on a day-by-day basis.
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD” (Lamentations 3:22-26).
Every single day the Lord is faithful and our hope is in Him. Hope doesn’t mean that you cross your fingers wanting something to happen. Instead, hoping in the Lord means to rest assured that He is faithful and will see you through everything that comes your way.
Each day is filled with choices. Do I choose to sin or do I choose to follow God’s word. If you choose sin for that day then you choose to not have a happy day. We can look back into Biblical history and see from the experiences of the heroes of old that they were much happier when they chose to follow God. For instance, the Israelites chose to not trust God and enter the Promised Land; and that caused them to wander for 40 years in the wilderness.
After Joshua finally led the Israelites into the land that God had promised them, he told the tribes of Israel that they had a choice to make. They could serve heathen gods or they could follow the one true God.
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD“ (Joshua 24:14-15).
Joshua made the right choice and led his family in the right path. He said “… choose you this day whom ye will serve,“ and we need to make that choice daily too. If you choose to serve the pagan gods, which are demons, then you choose to be against God. Whatever pleasure you may think you find in sin, it’s always temporary and only brings heartache. Sin comes from Satan and his demonic horde; and you can find no way to have a happy day or year by serving pagan gods.
Looking at what others have can cause you to be unhappy with what you have. Every day will be happier if you choose to thank God for what He has provided for you instead of envying what others have. Envy isn’t a new problem for people. Asaph, who wrote many psalms, said he was envious of others who seemed wicked but who also prospered:
“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked“ (Psalm 73:2-3).
There will always be someone who seems to have more than you. It’s easy to be unhappy when we dwell upon what others have, or seem to have. Does someone have a big, beautiful house while you live in a small cottage? They also have a big, beautiful mortgage. The same goes for a fancy car or other material possessions. Happiness comes when you’re content with what God provides for you each day. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a nice house or car, but allow God to provide rather than running ahead of Him and getting yourself in debt. God will always see that you have the means for you to afford what He provides.
Asaph was envious of others “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end“ (Psalm 73:17).
The wicked people around us may have worldly possessions, but that’s where their treasure is; they don’t have salvation. Asaph knew how to find peace with what God had given to him rather than looking at what wicked people seemed to have.
The Holy Spirit indwells Christians and it’s easy for us to talk to Him every day. Tell Him about your concerns but be sure to listen to what He wants for you. You’ll be much happier day by day if you live within God’s will for you.
“Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory…My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever“ (Psalm 73:23-24, 26).
It’s also important to thank Him for what He has provided, including your salvation. When you’re thankful for His daily provision for you, you’ll find that you’re content.
Problems will always come along, but we need to choose to be content in the Lord. Even Paul had bad days. He was beaten, jailed, shipwrecked, and faced many other problems. He had some unhappy days, but he didn’t trust in his own strength.
“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead“ (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
Paul knew where his strength was; and even when his life came to the point of despair, he looked to God. If you’re down and feel despair, talk to God. You can also talk to someone who loves you. God has given us family and Christian friends to talk to about problems. He gave us voices to talk with and arms to hug with. Why, then, do so many people opt to get advice from Facebook or other social media?
When I was young, my mother was my best friend; I could talk to her about anything and everything. She was also a devout Christian, so when she gave me advice it was based upon God’s word. Today many people take to social media and are given (and give) all kinds of ungodly advice. Feelings are put out for the public to see and then emotions spiral downward. This causes all kinds of unhappiness on a daily basis. Why not choose to either get off of Facebook, or instead of posting “Oh poor me, ” maybe look back on your day and post about how faithful God was to see you through.
If you do that every day, you can look back at the end of the year and see that each day offered something to be thankful for and happy about. Instead of being pessimistic about having an empty glass, see the promise of fresh water.
“He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he“ (Proverbs 16:20).
For the Christian, faith will carry us through the good days, bad days, and into eternity. Although life can throw some problems our way, the Lord is there for us to lean on. Every day when we wake up, our prayer should be that we will glorify God in all things and that we’ll see His guidance in our life.
A happy new year is made up of 365 contented days. Let God be your daily source of happiness and you cannot go wrong.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.
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