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Welcome again to Meditation Moments, and the dear Lord bless you. As we so often say the old-fashioned blessing: God bless you and make you a blessing!
Sweet is the precious gift of prayer,
To bow before the throne of grace;
To leave our every burden there,
And gain new strength to run our race;
To gird our heavenly armor on,
Depending on the Lord alone.
And sweet the whisper of His love,
When conscience sinks beneath its load,
That bids our guilty fears remove,
And points to Christ’s atoning blood.
Oh then ’tis sweet indeed to know
God can be just and gracious too.
So often we have spoken to you regarding taking God at His Word and believing utterly the promises of God, trusting in them and expecting God to bring them to pass. In fact, one of our favorite promises is this: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust in him, and he will bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). And you know the other one: “Delight thyself in the Lord and he’ll give thee the desires of thy heart” (Psalm 37:4).
I do want to say, though, definitely something that has to be said over and over again, that there must be obedience if we’re going to get the answer to prayer. So many have felt like God is so merciful and God is just like a great big kindly grandfather; He’ll wink at certain things in life and just pass over it. You know, “God won’t pay any attention to it, and He loves me so much.”
Beloved, I was reading an article the other day by a Mr. Kasen. It read something like this—this is just an excerpt from it. It was a lengthy treatise on the subject of how one gets joy out of life, and he said that everyone is after the same thing in life: they want happiness, which some call a good time. Just to have a good time seems to be the purpose of life to some people.
Unfortunately, most of us blunder and make a mistake in what a good time really is in our lives, and it’s nearly over before we find out what a good time really is and how to have it. At first, when we are children, we think that a good time means lots of fun and not much work, to do as we like and get something for nothing.
Many folks discover after a while that this is a silly notion that leads only to mischief. Eventually, after having plenty of troubles, we learn that success does not mean grabbing everything we want, does not mean idleness. It takes a long time to learn that lesson, that in finding happiness you have to go about it in the right way or you’ll never have happiness.
Now I agree with Mr. Kasen on one point particularly, and that is that this hunt for happiness is one in which almost every human being is engaged. I make the exception of some deeply spiritual saints of God who don’t make a quest for happiness but they find it just the same.
To many lives, it’s really the “Holy Grail,” and if they miss finding happiness they feel that they have missed the supreme purpose of their life. Rich, poor, learned or ignorant, poets and philosophers, all are in the quest and we find them at last beside life’s roadway, oh so disappointed, and many are so heartbroken because they failed to find this happiness they have searched so hard for.
I read you some time ago when we were speaking along this very line that poem of Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “I Lost the Road to Happiness.” How true that is. I’m not going to repeat the poem here, because we used it just recently. But it asked the question: “Does anyone know it, pray? I was dwelling there when the morn was fair, but somehow it wandered away. I sought rare treasures and scenes of pleasure and ran to pursue them, when lo, I had lost the road to happiness and knew not whither to go.”
Jay Gould, the American multimillionaire, said that he lost the road to happiness, and when he was dying he said, “I am the most miserable man on earth!” Wealth didn’t help him find happiness. Lord Beaconsfield, famous and wealthy both, wrote “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a regret. I’ve never found happiness!”
Alexander the Great, who conquered the known world, and you know this story so well, said before he died, “There are no more worlds to conquer!” His conquest didn’t lead him to any real joy. He said, “I never found it.” Lord Byron lived a life that’s full. Oh, what pleasures he had so far as worldly pleasures are concerned. But he said, “The worm that cankered and only grief are mine.” So he never found it in pleasure, nor found it in wealth. But those are trite things to be saying, aren’t they, because you’ve heard that many times before and you know that.
But where then can one find happiness? You might ask me, have I found it? Yes, I’ve found happiness. And yet I don’t own any property, I don’t have a big bank account, I don’t have youth anymore, but I do have supreme happiness. But where is happiness generally found? Oh, if you’d just take your Bible and read it and obey God’s Word, you’d find that happiness is found in plain old-fashioned obedience to God. Because every man that was blessed under the ministry of Jesus Christ was blessed in the path of obedience.
Joy is always the aftermath of obedience. God’s Word says, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). You know, a will yielded to God brings such rest of spirit, and the heart that’s right with God has such joy. A mind that’s stayed on God has such perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). God says so!
Someone has said that perfect peace would be perfect happiness. If we have perfect confidence in the one we are obeying, that’s reasonable. For if the heart’s right with God and you are walking in obedience to His Word, He can then fulfill to you all His wonderful promises, and you couldn’t help but find happiness then.
Many people think they’re unhappy because of the conditions and circumstances around them. But, no, the unhappiness is really because of what’s wrong in the heart. When the heart’s wrong, all is wrong, because you are at war with yourself. You’re out of harmony with God.
Christ did not teach that the quest for happiness should be abandoned, but rather in all His teachings, He strove to direct man to the right way to find happiness. Jesus Christ believed in and taught much about joy—real happiness, but He made it very plain that there were wrong ways of pursuing it. In every phase of human longing for happiness, this wrong pursuit of it was one of the world’s greatest problems that Jesus had to solve.
Jesus said, “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” That’s John 16:22. He said, “No man taketh from you.” No man, no condition can take that from you. Jesus said, “I will see you again and ye shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” I repeated that because it’s such a wonderful verse. And He said, “Ask and receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). He promised that one of the first fruits of the Spirit would be joy.
Oh, there are so many scriptures along this line, you couldn’t even begin to quote them. But won’t you know that this joy which Christ spoke of is something far, far beyond what the world calls happiness? This is an inward joy.
This strong confident message of happiness runs triumphantly all through the Word of God. But always Christ set forth the fundamentals of happiness, which would reveal to the world that they were on the wrong path to happiness, and that just to strive for it is a goal itself that you never would catch up with. It isn’t something from the outside that you could grasp and pour into the heart. It springs up from when the heart is right with God.
It’s a God-given miracle resulting from yielding absolutely to the will of God and putting life utterly at God’s disposal. Oh, won’t you read His Word and find out what He wants you to do and then obey that Word? Have you been obeying? If you’re miserable and distraught, perhaps you didn’t obey what He told you to do. What about disobedience? If there’s one thought of a way of happiness to you, is this an unthought-of way? Does it seem unreal that you can find happiness in making Jesus Christ the master of your life in implicit obedience? Tens of thousands are today testifying that they found it there, and you can also.
God grant that the perfect happiness of perfect obedience will be yours, until you can say as Jesus said, “I delight to do thy will, O God” (Psalm 40:8). God bless you, beloved. Amen.