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Reverse Engineering Happiness (Part 4) – Dec. 13

December 13, 2015

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10

This is my fourth post in a series exploring how we can develop an ability to experience happiness as a regular and consistent aspect of our existence and not mere blimps of bliss.  I fully believe that we can reverse engineer happiness.  If you want to read the first three posts on this topic you can find them at: Reverse Engineering Happiness (Part 1), Reverse Engineering Happiness (Part 2), Reverse Engineering Happiness (Part 3).

In Reverse Engineering Happiness (Part 2), I proposed that our happiness is similar to a car’s designed speed for a specific course.  Our happiness is dependent upon the interrelation of our minds (the engine) and physical bodies (the rest of the car).  However, just like speed is not the purpose of a car, happiness is not the purpose of our lives.  Happiness is a relative quality achieved when we are living out the purpose of our lives to our created abilities.

In Reverse Engineering Happiness (Part 3), I proposed that every human being’s purpose is found in the glorification and enjoyment of God.  How that is accomplished is dependent upon what you were designed to transverse.  Happiness is the result of all the components of our lives, mind and body, coming together to fulfill our purpose – what we were designed to do.

However, the mind is the engine of our existence.  A focused mind is an essential component of regular and consistent happiness.  If your mind is not right, we have little hope of fulfilling our purpose.

How do we keep our minds focused on our purpose?

I might be accused of oversimplification but I will share what has worked for me.  I have a very simple filter that I run the decisions of my life through.  I have found that it helps me control a mind that is prone to wander into a myriad of rabbit holes in this confusing world.

I simply filter my thoughts through two questions.

  1. Am I loving God with all my heart, soul, and mind? (Matt. 22:37)

We do what we love.  It is how we are made.  If we get the passion of our life correct, then everything will fall into place no matter what happens to us.  We need to pursue the passion of our life but we must be careful not to follow a false passion.  The majority of times when I have found myself on the negative train, unhappy, or simply numb it is because my mind has wandered from the loveliness of God.

I preach the gospel to myself on a daily basis to refocus my heart, soul, and mind on the loveliness of God.

But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

How could I not love a God who has done that for me?  I don’t have to earn anything from God.  I was dead in my trespasses and sin but I have been saved by grace through faith.  That is what I focus my mind upon – it changes everything.

Life falls into focus when I am focused on the treasure who is my savior – Jesus Christ.

If you are not happy, then you should check your focus.  Where has your mind wandered?  If your life is a series of obligations, you are not going to enjoy it and as a result you will not be happy.

When was the last time you simply beheld the loveliness of a merciful God who would send His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh to save you because of the great love with which he loved you?

It is simply glorious – see we are doing our purpose; makes me happy!

O happiness of these times! O unhappiness of these times! Is it not happiness, when there is such plenitude of grace, and of all good things? Is it not unhappiness, when there is so much ingratitude of those that are redeemed?  Guerric, Abbot of Igny

  1. Am I loving my neighbor as myself? (Matt. 22:39)

People can be one of the greatest happiness drains.  Yet, they can also be an incredible resource of happiness.  I have found that the difference often lies within me.  Most people will respond to me in the manner that I represent myself to them but I think there is a deeper truth than a mere quid pro quo.  I try to modify my actions through the filter “how I would like to be treated” based on the deeper truth.

  • Caring & Kind: I want to be loved.  I want people to be kind to me. If want people to care about me, then I should care about them.  We need to practice taking time to value the people in our lives.  We need to be quick with an encouraging word and praise.  It takes a focused mind to really care about people.
  • Gentle & Patient: I have screwed up more times than I can count.  I have never liked it when someone has rudely pointed out my failure and made me feel stupid.  I have always appreciated the person who gently pointed out my failings; gently comforted by hurts; gently helped me through disappointment.  Yet, gentleness takes a focused mind patiently controlling the response to the hurt.
  • Positive & Good: I have never found anything good to come from focusing on the negative.  It is so easy to get sucked into gossip and thinking the worst of other people.  It takes a focused mind to look for the positive and to try do something good.
  • Trustworthy & Restrained: I want to know that someone will not betray me.  I want to know that someone has self-control and will not lash out at me.  It surely takes a focused mind to be faithful and self-controlled towards another person.

This is how I would like to be treated.  It is the golden rule – treat people the way you want to be treated.  There is a secret to the golden rule.  If you look at the characteristics of how I want to be treated, you may notice a theme.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22)

I want to be treated by someone overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit.  If I am to treat people the way I want to be treated, then I must be overflowing in the fruit of the Spirit.  My response to other people is a work of the Spirit of God in my life and a reflection of Him.

As a result, I am glorifying God by loving my neighbor as myself – we are once again back at our purpose; makes me happy!

Happiness

I use these filters to reprogram my thinking.  I find it marvelous that even God’s commandments are for our happiness.  We often make things way more complicated than they need to be.  Individuals who become the happiest are those who stay on purpose – glorifying and enjoying God – by focusing their mind using the tools of obedience to God’s commandments.  Pretty simple in concept – often hard in practice.

In the next post, I will give you my suggestions of how to integrate the component of our bodies so that it is in harmony with our minds in achieving our purpose.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for creating us to experience happiness.   Thank you for giving us a purpose – a meaning to life.  Thank you for giving us minds and bodies specifically blessed and formed to fulfill our purpose in a unique way.   Lord, help us to find our true selves and be all that you have called us to be.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

3 comments

  1. Important truths here, JD, and thank you for setting an example. ‘Love that quote from Guerric, Abbot of Igny. Gratitude is the most important step toward happiness!


  2. How can we relate ourselves with god??
    Who is GOD, we don’t even know if he exists or not, i am not all offending you in anyway but according to me what i have learnt is that we all are god,it is been written in the new testament that “GOD IS LOVE” and he who dweleth in love,dweleth in me and I am him pure,unconditional,blissful and divine love.
    Bless you 😊


  3. Great lesson! 🙂



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