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Habits that Lead to Happiness Pt. 2

How Happiness Can't Be Stopped,
No Matter What


"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News of Christ!"
Philippians 1:27 (NIV)
As we go through life we can either focus on our problems or we can look at them in a way that brings happiness into our lives.  Remember, happiness is a choice.  When I face problems and turn them over to God, looking at them from His perspective, He allows me to be an encouragement to other believers and a witness to unbelievers.  With God's help we can turn our problems into purpose.  Begin by reading Philippians 1:12-30 together.  

Pray and ask God to open your heart.

1.  See every problem from God's point of view.

Paul's view of his circumstances:
Philippians 1:12-13 - Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.  13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  

*Everything else in Paul's life had importance only to the degree that it affected the 
progress of the gospel.  

Philippians 1:12 - I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me has helped to spread the Good News."  (NLT)

* When we take on God's perspective in the midst of a problem, we are exercising faith
that He has a bigger picture than we are seeing in the moment.  People are watching,
so how we choose to face the challenges in our lives can have a profound witness to
unbelievers.  Think of ways unbelievers might be impacted by watching your faith in
difficult times.  Why is what they see important?

*Can you think of an occasion when you were encouraged by watching the faith of
another believer in action as they trusted the outcome of their current circumstances
to God?  List some of the ways you've learned by watching.  

When I face problems joyfully:

*It is a WITNESS to unbelievers.

Philippians 1:13 - As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

*It is ENCOURAGING to believers.

Philippians 1:14 - Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.


2.  Don't let OTHERS control my attitude.

Philippians 1:15-18 - It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.  16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.  18 But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this I rejoice.  Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.  

Critics, Comrades, Competitors, and Conspirators:

*Think of a time when someone in your life was quarrelsome, or seemed to be
conspiring against you or competing with you in some way, threatening your
happiness.  How did you deal with the situation and preserve your joy?  What steps
will you take next time to choose to be happy, and even "fearless?"

Philippians 1:15-17 - Of course, some preach Christ because they are jealous and quarrelsome.  Others preach from genuine good will.  16 These do so out of love, and they know God's given me the work of defending the gospel.  17 Others preach Christ insincerely from a spirit of selfish ambition.  Others just want to stir up more trouble for me, and add to my pain while I am in prison.  (GNT)

Paul's Attitude: 

Philippians 1:18 - But it doesn't really matter!  The IMPORTANT THING is that in every way, whether for right or wrong reasons, the message of Christ is being shared!  SO I am happy, and I will continue to be happy!  (NCV)

Philippians 1:29-30 - For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him30 We are in this fight together.  You have seen me suffer for him in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of a great struggle.  (NLT)

*How is it possible to rejoice in the face of difficult people and attitudes?

Philippians 1:25 - I am sure of this, so I know that I will stay on with you all, so I can add to your progress and joy in the faith. (TEV)

*Even though he was living in miserable conditions, Paul knew his purpose was to build
others up in faith.  Knowing the key to happiness lies in self-sacrifice rather than self-
gratification, how do you find happiness in your purpose?  How does living your
purpose add to the progress and joy of others?

Philippians 1:21 - For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. (NIV)

*How do you fill in the blank:  For me to live is __________________________________________.
In other words, what sometimes replaces God for the #1 place in your life?  List some
practical steps for keeping God first.  Because happiness is a habit.


3.  Trust God to WORK everything out.

Philippians 1:18-20 - ... I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.  20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  

*There are four sources of strength outlined in Philippians 1:18-19.  I have God's
perspective on my problem, I have people praying for me, I have the Holy Spirit 
helping me, and I have faith that God will work it for good.

*I can choose to worry and panic or I can choose to pray and worship God in faith.
What is going on in your life right now that you need to trust God to work?

* Who could I ask to be praying for me?

*Do I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me or trust in my ability to solve the problem?

*There are four common barriers to joy:  pain, difficult people, pressure (internal or
external), and problems.  Which barrier is your most common stumbling block?  What
ways have you learned to choose happiness to overcome your current joy killer block?

*What is your greatest fear?  In moving against what we fear, we find the greatest joy.
What can you do in the following weeks and/or months to refocus on God and His
provisions to defeat your fear?

Prayer:  

Jesus, I pray you would use us to shine our love.  Help us truly believe that we have something beautiful to offer this pain-stained world.  Lift our minds away from our joy stealers and help us hear only your encouraging voice.  Give us your perspective, surround us with people who will pray for us and give us a faith that you will deliver us from our greatest fear.  Help us choose to be happy, no matter what.  In your precious name.  Amen.