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Habits that Lead to Happiness: Pt. 1

How to Grow Healthy Relationships

If you would like to extend this over a week, you can easily do one of the points each day in your devotion. If you would like a printable copy of this plan, click here.
"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.  
Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy."  
Philippians 1:3-4 (NLT)
If you're frustrated looking for happiness, there are 5 laws of happiness you need to know:
  1. Don't look for happiness - create it!
  2. Happiness isn't a goal, it's the result of right thinking and acting. 
  3. My habits create my happiness.  It's a choice. 
  4. Happiness based on happenings is temporary.  But happiness built on habits is long-lasting. 
  5. Happy habits are as addicting as bad habits - but happy ones are far more rewarding!

As Paul found, we find happiness when we are in right relationship to others.  This week, we'll look at four habits to help build healthy relationships, based on Paul's opening words to the Philippians in 1:1-11.
Open your time by reading this passage and asking God to open your heart. 
Paul reveals personal habits for developing healthy relationships.
1. BE GRATEFUL FOR THE GOOD IN PEOPLE.
Phil 1:  1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God every time I remember you.

What can we glean from Paul's model in building happy and enduring relationships?  Think of some challenging behavior and choices of others to be thankful for "every time."  What strategies would help you develop this habit?
2. PRACTICE PRAYING FOR THEM.
Phil1:4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray for joy...

In spite of having gone through many hardships and trials during Paul's visit to Philippi, why does he choose to write about his gratitude for the Philippians and not dwell on painful memories?  Think of a time you were able to do this successfully.  How did it go? 
3. BE PATIENT WITH THEIR PROGRESS. 
Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Research confirms the influence of others' expectations upon us.  Keep the above scripture in mind and answer the following:  How do you feel when someone...
  1. Telly you they believe in you.
  2. Provides a positive vision of how they see you. 
  3. Is patient allowing you time to mature. 

"Acceptance precedes transformation."  If we expect the best and "celebrate how far people have come, we will avoid judging how far they still have to go."

Philippians 1:7 "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart."
Paul exposes his heart and the key to his patience. 

4. LOVE PEOPLE FROM THE HEART.
Phil 1:7-8  "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me.  God can testify how long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus." 

What do you think it means to love somebody from the heart?  And who would give us the ability to do so?

Gal 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Spend some time in prayer and ask God to help you look at a person through the eyes of Jesus and see them for who they are in him.

Philippians 1:9-11 "I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation - the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ - for this will bring much glory and praise to God."

The quickest way to change a bad relationship to good is to start praying for that person.  If you're not sure how, follow Paul's model.  Pray they will grow in love, make wise choices, live with integrity, and become like Jesus.  How can we develop a habit of praying joyfully for people -  especially when they annoy us? 


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