You Can Have a Happy Family - Page 1 of 2

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

November 27, 2004

Title: You Can Have a Happy Family

Text: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).


Scripture Reading:

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-33).


Introduction

The subject of today’s devotion is, “You Can Have a Happy Family.” You might wonder if it’s really that important to set a goal for your family’s happiness. After all, most of us are no longer raising our family; the children are married and have their own families. And, happiness is certainly not the goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our lives, even though that is one of the benefits of salvation. Instead, we find in the Bible that obedience to God must always take precedence over “the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). For example, Moses was willing to take his lot in life with the people of God, even though it leads to a lot of suffering.

The reason he felt that way was because he believed that it would be better for him to spend eternity with them in the hereafter, rather than to enjoy all the sensual sinful pleasures of Pharaoh’s court, which would be but for a season, and then he would be punished with everlasting misery. But if we define happiness as a feeling of well-being, of contentment, of joy over our purpose for living, then happiness is, at least what most people are looking for in life.

In today’s scripture reading Jesus has not dismissed happiness as a superficial desire, but rather He focuses on how an individual and family can find true happiness. We don’t have to be anxious about life, although we often are. There is a way to find happiness in the midst of our lives. And Jesus wants us to find it. But first we need to recognize that we can miss happiness by our frantic efforts to obtain happiness for our family and friends.

I want to talk first about THE WAYS WE MISS HAVING A HAPPY FAMILY. One way we miss having a happy family is by never being satisfied with what we have. It is good to be a person who looks forward to the future, but we shouldn’t miss what’s going on all around us. We need to “wake up and smell the roses.” God is good to you today; right now. You may not believe it, but I assure you that at this moment, you have more than most of the people in the world. Millions go to bed hungry for most of their lives and multitudes more live in fear and hopelessness.

Enjoy today’s blessings, today. Happiness is not some magical state of existence that we finally discover over the next mountain of life. Instead, happiness happens to you along the way, in the midst of your daily life. People who seek happiness on the other side of the mountain are like those who look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They will never find it.

The tragic truth is that many families run right past happiness, because they are searching for it someplace else. Don’t miss the gift of joy that a child’s smile can bring today. Don’t miss the explosion of joy and wonder that a child’s question can set off in your heart. Don’t miss the gift of love that a friend or family member can bring to you today. You will miss many happy experiences if you are

not paying attention to what is going on around you.

Another way to miss happiness is to value happiness too much. If you would rather be happy than to have a friend, if you would rather be happy than courageous, if you would rather be happy than responsible, if you would rather be happy than right, then you will never be happy at all.

Husbands and wives who would rather be happy than to make a sincere effort at being faithful and loving to one another, will not be happy for very long. People who seek happiness in one marriage or affair after another are deceived into believing that happiness is a gift that someone else can give, when, in truth, happiness can only come from within.

Finally, we can miss having a happy family when we are not willing to do God’s will. If we will not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, God cannot add to us the needs and desires of our hearts. Our text says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (v. 33). Matthew is telling his readers to set priorities. Often women are overwhelmed by too many things to do, because there are many good choices concerning how to divide up their time.To set priorities is to determine what is important to you and how your time is to be doled out—that is, who and what will take precedence over other parts of your life.

Scripture contains guidelines for how you are to use your time:
1. There must be time for your personal relationship to Jesus Christ; going to church, daily Bible reading and prayer.
2. You must commit time to home and family—especially your spouse and children, and even to the extended family, which was so beautifully portrayed in the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. This also includes making time for the friends you have here at Eastside.
3. You must fulfill your responsibility to your employer. The Bible infers that we should work just like we would if Jesus was the boss. You may no longer have a paying job, but I see many of you help those who can’t get around well or have handicaps or are poor, and I am happy to see that you take the responsibility seriously.
4. There needs to be time set aside for your service to God through ministries in the church. That may involve praying for others, being pleasant and helping others.

There are more demands on our time than this, that’s why people seem to live in such a hurry, and a flurry and a worry and they have so little time to spare. So when you prioritize your time you must give prayerful consideration to each item.

Usually, things are done in the order of importance. To be consistent in your priorities, consider this course of action:
1. Assign God first place.
2. Consult with God regularly in your quiet time.
3. Examine your own heart.
4. Keep yourself spiritually fit.

Jesus met with the Father in intensive prayer and meditation to determine His priorities and to prepare Himself for each day.

Note also these precautions:

1. Put people before things.
2. Do not limit your investment in those you love, and others who cross your path, to money and gifts.
3. Look for ways to invest yourself, your time, and your energies.
4. Family must be more important than your occupation or your hobbies, since Scripture clearly states that there is no success if the family is lost.
5. Sometimes you must say “no,” as did even Jesus when some seemingly good requests for His time did not fit the overall plan for His ministry.
6. The underlying principle in determining priorities is always that spiritual values must overshadow worldly pursuits.

God’s will does not always lead us to easy tasks and He doesn’t always give us smiles and laughter. Instead of walking in happiness, we must sometimes walk with Him through the darkness of suffering or in the outer reaches of rejection. But the testimony of Christians is that deep joy can be known in obedience and faithfulness to His will. Listen to what Paul has to say in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

In this verse, Paul is contrasting the sufferings of the present with the glorious hope for the future. Paul had suffered greatly for the sake of the gospel.Yet he acknowledged that those sufferings were nothing compared to the future glory he anticipated.

God’s children will participate in the glory of Christ; they will experience complete conformity to Christ. The Bible states that someday we will be like Him.

Believers have received the Holy Spirit as God’s down payment or guarantee of ultimate victory over sin and death.

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