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Habits that Lead to Happiness Pt. 5

How Happiness is Learned, Part 1

If you would like to extend this over a week, you can easily do one of the points each day in your devotion.   For a printable version of this, click here.  
Many think happiness is a matter of luck, but it can be learned.  In fact, most happiness habits are counter to human nature and must be learned if we are to be truly happy.  A reading through Philippians 2:19-30 might make us wonder why this personal note from Paul was included in Scripture.  But in Paul's references to Timothy and Epaphroditus, we find four habits of happiness that can be learned.  Paul endorsed both these men as role models in 2:20 and 2:29 and said that his sending these two men would actually bring happiness (vs. 19, 28, and 28b).  Before you begin the lesson, read Philippians 2:19-30 again.  

OPEN IN PRAYER.

Philippians 2:20-21 - I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.  All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. (NLT)

1.  Use the Bible app, or other online Bible, to read Philippians 2:20-21 in several different translations.  How do these explain why Timothy is "like no one else"?  What positive character traits today would describe someone who is "like no one else"?

Move the focus away from myself to others.

2.  In order to be happier, we must learn to shift our focus outward.  How would your perspective change if you asked yourself, "Who in my life needs help?"  How will you help them today?  This week?  This month?

Mark 8:35 - "Only those who give away their lives for my sake and for the sake of Good News will ever know what it means to really live."  LB

Be a person who can be trusted.

3.  Another quality required to be happy is to become someone people trust.  Timothy was a proven servant who developed a reputation built on integrity and keeping his promises (his actions matched his words, no matter the cost).  From Paul's comments regarding Timothy's trustworthy character (Philippians 2:20), what can we conclude about the life choices Timothy made?  Do you think others see you as someone like Timothy?

1 Corinthians 1:10 - You must get along with each other.  You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.  (MES)

Live with integrity.

4.  What does it mean to live with integrity?  Is there a time that you failed to live with integrity?  How might you go back and make it right?

Proverbs 25:13 - Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat--refreshing.  (MSG)

Proverbs 25:19 - Putting confidence in an unreliable person is like chewing with a toothache, or walking on a broken foot.  (NLT)

Keep my promises.

5.  Write down the names of a few people you trust, and the reasons you trust them.  Do the people you trust tend to keep their word and promises?  Do you think you would end up on a similar list that a friend made of their most trusted few?  Why or why not?

James 5:12 - ... Don't add words like:  "I swear to God" to your own words.  Don't show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God.  Just say yes or no.  Just say what is true.  That way, your language can't be used against you.  (MSG)

Conclusion

6.  What are some ways you could practice moving the focus from yourself to others?  What are some ways you could practice being trustworthy?  What are some ways you could practice living with integrity?  What are some ways you could practice keeping your word?