Sermon Title: “Learning to Be Happy”
Text: Psalm 126:2-3
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Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
Our world is broken, and sometimes we allow things going on around us to cause us to be anxious, sad, and depressed. Young people (and probably Americans of all ages) in our culture spend an incredible amount of time looking at screens (TV, phones, tablets, computers, etc.), and the consumption of this media has physical, emotional, and spiritual side effects (stress, discouragement, feelings of hopelessness, high blood pressure, etc.).
But as Christians, we of all people should be happy. Jesus has saved us and promised us eternity with him, so we have everything to be happy about. Yet we often struggle with this.
Brint encouraged us to do four things:
- Make Up Your Mind. Just as the Prodigal Son “came to himself” and “arose and went,” we should make the mental decision to change our minds—deciding to be happy (cf. Phil 4:8).
- Work on our Words. We should be careful with the way we use words—they’re powerful and can either bring about significant damage or wonderful blessings (cf. 1 Thess 4:18; Matt 12:36-37).
- Fix Your Face. Some research suggests that smiling actually increases levels of happiness. Of seven possible facial expressions, happiness is the most difficult one to fake. Aren’t we excited to know Jesus?
- Alter Your Actions. Sometimes we assume that we should wait to feel a certain way before we do something, but actually our actions often bring about the feelings we want. We need to think less of self and more of others, doing encouraging things even when we are struggling ourselves.
How do I live out the implications of this passage? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)
- Brint shared statistics about media usage and its impact on us. Consider these questions: How much media are you exposed to daily? Is it hurtful or beneficial? How can we insulate ourselves from the negative impacts of media? How can 21st-century Christians cope with the evolving media culture specifically without compromising our happiness? What can we do to help our children and protect them from the dangers that exist in media?
- With the 24/7 news cycle, we are constantly bombarded with examples of our world’s brokenness. Do you find yourself being negatively affected by these things, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually? How so?
- Does our Christian walk bring us daily joy? Does being a Christian mean we will always be happy? How do we reconcile managing sadness/trouble with seeking out a life of Joy?Brint mentioned four things that we should do to combat unhappiness. These discussion questions relate to them:
- We should Make up our Minds:
- Can we just make up our minds to be happy? Practically, how does that work?
- Paul forgot about the things that were behind him (Phil 3:13). How can we get ourselves into this mind-set? How does our past hurt us? How can things from our past help us?
- We should Work on our Words:
- How does complaining affect our happiness/unhappiness? How does what we say affect what we do/how we act/ how we feel? What do our words say about us?
- Why is what we say to others important? How can what we say to someone else impact our personal happiness? In a world where we hear so much that’s negative, how impactful are positive words?
- We should Fix our Faces: 1 Peter 1:8 speaks of experiencing a joy that that is inexpressible. If we are in Christ, is it important that it show on our faces? Do you think Jesus himself ever smiled?
- We should Alter our Actions: Brint suggested that in order to change how we feel we have to change what we do. How might our actions influence how we feel? How does thinking less of ourselves and more of others help us to be happier? How does giving more of ourselves (presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, Rom 12:1-2) help our happiness?