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Habits that Lead to Happiness Pt. 6

How Happiness is Learned, Part 2

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 2:19-20 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 sending these two men would actually bring happiness (vs. 19, 28, and 28 b).
OPEN IN PRAYER.
Learn to work well with others.  

1.  Being unable to work with others is often a criticism from an older generation to a younger generation.  (Are these generalizations true?  Or is failure to work well with others a general human characteristic, rather than a specific generation's trait?)  Nevertheless, think about ways an older generation could be an example for a younger generation as they exemplify working together.  Write some of those ideas here, and then begin to pray that God would provide you the opportunity to live by example to teach someone younger than you.

Matthew 5:9 -  Jesus said, "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.  That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family." (MSG)
Learn to cooperate.
2.  Read Philippians 2:25 again, "But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs." (NIV)

Reflect on the three "teamwork" metaphors Paul uses to describe the Epaphroditus (family member, fellow worker, fellow soldier).  We can equate all Christians in these same ways.  Write down some ways that other Christians, locally and globally, are like family, fellow workers, and fellow soldiers.
Learn to be considerate.

3.  Learning to be considerate is critical to becoming happy.  Based on 1 Corinthians 1:10, what does Paul say is essential for a considerate person?  What is a "life in common," and what do we need to do to practice that?

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."  (MSG/emphasis added)

Live for something worth dying for.  Commitments.  

4.  Many of us commit big amounts of time to small causes rather than investing in something that will outlast us.  What small causes have you wasted time on?  Ask yourself:
1)  What commitment have I made that I need to complete?
2)  Is my commitment to Christ big enough to risk anything?

Live for something worth dying for.  Causes.

5.  To be happy, we need to live for something worth dying for.  According to Mark 8:34-37, what does it mean to "give or throw away" your life?  Think of some examples of people you know who have put service (to God or others) before their own security--a friend, a mentor, a family member, a minister.  How did their life impact you?

Mark 8:34-37 - "If any of you wants to be my follower," he told them, "you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow my closely. 35 If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it.  Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live. 36 And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? 37 For is anything worth more than his soul?" (TLB)

Conclusion.

6.  What are some ways you could practice working well with others?  What are some ways you could practice cooperation?  What are some ways you could practice being considerate?  What are some ways you could practice living for something worth dying for?

Take time to pray, asking God to help you turn your good intentions into action.