Are You Living A Happy And Fulfilling Christian life?
Do you know the secret to living a happy and fulfilling Christian life?
In this article I am going to blast away the myths, the false beliefs and ideas that keep most people from living the kind of Christian life they’ve always dreamed of.
What does it take to be happy person? We’ve all seen those people who seem to have it all… great health, money in the bank, a great job but many of the people who fit that type of lifestyle are both miserable and empty inside. They look to drugs, sex, money and power to fill a need that just can’t be quenched.
Then you have the average person who has neither the wealth, the power or the greed of the jet-set lifestyle that would breed the kind of happiness we all aspire to. No, they understand what’s important in life and live by a set of rules that is different from how the rest of the world lives.
What is their big secret? What do they posses that unhappy are missing out on? What do Christians have that the rest of the world needs to lead a happy and fulfilling life?
Since there isn’t one basic recipe that will work for everyone, there are several ingredients that most happy Christians seem to have in common. I will give you the list of these ingredients and will go into deeper detail so that you can incorporate them into your life.
The idea here isn’t to just do these things and they will make you happy… the idea is to make them part of who you are on the inside until they become an authentic part of your everyday activities.
The 5 Main Ingredients Of A Happy And Fulfilling Christian Life
1- God – At the center of everyone’s life should be a special relationship with God. As a Christian, Jesus Christ comes first in my life. I couldn’t hope to live a happy life without involving Jesus in all my activities. Through prayer, bible study as well as partaking in the Eucharist, I make it a habit to live and know the complete joy that Jesus has to offer me.
No matter what happens, Jesus is by my side as I experience His love and protection. He brings a joy that the world just cannot provide and I seek to know Him better and His purpose for my life. I may not be considered a rich person according to the world but my riches are stored in heaven. My day-to-day needs are taken care of and my family is healthy and happy.
Candy Arrington writes, “Seeking God in decision-making and all life activities leads to happiness because this puts us in line with His will for our lives.”
When we are able to tap into God’s mighty strength it allows us to overcome the frustrations and difficulties that we encounter in our daily struggles. More importantly, it’s learning to recognize all the blessings we’ve already been given instead of looking for more which is the key to happiness for Christians everywhere.
What more do I need to be a follower of Christ?
Colossians 2:2, speaks of knowing God intimately: “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.”
2- Love – Besides God, love is the most important thing we have is this world to bring happiness and contentment. But the problem with the world is, we associate sex with love and we don’t put enough emphasis on the relationship first. True love is a gift from God. It is a relationship that God wants to be a part of. Can you find love on your own? Maybe… But God has a plan for each one of us and it includes that special someone.
Love is not a selfish thing as most people believe. In fact, love is something you give from the very depths of your soul. Research studies have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that those who give unselfishly of themselves are the happiest people in the world. It is important to have someone to love and someone that loves you. It is what we were made for but the sheer the beauty of love has been perverted by the sins of pornography, pride and greed.
Without love, there is emptiness and boredom. Almost every song written is about love in one form or another and everyone who doesn’t have it wants it. J. M. Barrie once said, “If you have it, you don’t need to have anything else, and if you don’t have it, it doesn’t much matter what else you have.”
So the eternal question is, why is love so important to happiness?
- It’s about connecting with another human being
- It is a pathway to one’s self discovery
- It is the one thing that nurture’s life in all in forms
- It is a great motivator
- It is a great teacher
- It is a support structure for which you to build your life upon
Love is about reaching out to others to form natural bonds and is one of the most essential ingredients for human survival but love, according to God is
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 speaks of love this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
3- Facing Challenges – Whoever thought that facing challenges in life would be so important to attaining happiness and being fulfilled? Why are challenges so important in our lives?
As Christians, God never said life would be easy. We must expect to go through trials and suffering but there is hope. It comes in the form of a God who loves us and desires only what is best for us. The trials we go through act as a mirror to the weakest parts of our being.
Most of us go through life with our eyes closed until we have to face a major obstacle. It’s only then do we call on the Lord for help. We need to be aware that courage and patience are built on faith. A faith that believes God is with us and helping us on our journey through life.
Challenges create circumstances where we must grow. It builds character and in order to overcome these trials, we must choose to rise to the occasion. That strength cannot prosper unless we have God with us. These trials are God’s way of teaching us humility, compassion and trust. Through it all, we see God’s love in everything.
“Challenges teach us, allow us to become more empathetic, humble, and fearless. Challenges will happen, so allow them to add to your experience of life rather than to diminish it.” Barrie Davenport
Take Charles Rentz for instance. He was born without arms or legs yet he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. He trusted God throughout his own trials and tribulations and continues to face life’s biggest challenges squarely upon his faith in Jesus. He understood why challenges are God’s way of bringing us closer to Him via the trust factor. He states: “My entire life is built upon my faith in my Creator who has endowed me with so many blessings.”
Philippians 4:12-13 tells us this about living with adversity: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
4- Peace of Mind – Everyone wants to live a peaceful existence. According to the Dalai Lama, “If we have peace of mind, we’ll always feel happy. Deceiving ourselves that money is the source of happiness, we won’t.”
Why is this quote from a Buddhist monk so important to understanding Christian happiness? Happiness is ours if we want it. It’s not based on anything the world can give us but the peace of mind that comes from knowing God.
Another great quote from the Indian spiritual leader Dada Vaswani, goes like this: “Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.”
This is why happiness in the world is transitory. We lack peace of mind because we are searching for things that add to our stress and keep us from being at peace. Think about your own life. What is keeping you from being at peace? What are you doing that makes it hard for you to concentrate on being peaceful?
Take this quote from the #1 Bestselling author Eckhart Tolle, “Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.”
We are so busy chasing after things that we cannot take with us that we forget to live in the here and now. We don’t give enough meaning to what God has given to us at this moment in time that we lose our ability to appreciate all the good in our lives.
The idea is to slow down, pray and appreciate what you have for you may lose it at any time. Think of it this way… Do you want more, more, more or are you contented that your needs have all been met?
Be satisfied with what you have been given. Some people are never content with their current circumstances because they always want more or think having more is better in the long run but watch out what you wish for as you will have to deal with it when you receive it.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So beautifully said and words most Christians forget to live by.
5- Adjust your attitude – To live a heart-centered life we need to live through God’s ways not our own. This means we must adjust our attitudes to that of a higher power. We are not the owners of our lives for as Christians, we have given ourselves over to Christ.
Are you being merciful and compassionate to your fellow man? Do you give love when the world says no? Do you offer yourself to others as an act of love or do you pick your spots?
Our attitudes form the soil from which the root of our actions will grow. Are you watering and pruning your actions or do they grow like weeds?
Evangelical Christian pastor Chuck Swindoll writes in his book ”Strengthening Your Grip”: “I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.”
Your actions depend on where you spend your thoughts. If those thoughts are not based on God’s word then we are not applying His truth to our life. That’s where we become misguided in our search for happiness and joy.
We avoid change because change is hard. If we walk in darkness we can’t avoid sin but changing our attitude brings about real change. Attitude and direction go hand in hand. This is why Jesus tries to get our attention to point us in the right direction.
How often have you seen big name stars going in rehab or dying from drug and alcohol abuse? it’s an epidemic in society yet to live a happy and fulfilling life avoids all that. It focuses itself on the ways of God so that we walk along the path of righteousness.
It is one thing to know about God but another altogether to actually surrender ourselves to Him. When you can do that peace, love and harmony are yours for the taking.
Philippians 4:8 talks to us about our attitude: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Seeking God’s Version Of Happiness And Fulfillment
Despite what the world has to offer, God’s way is still the best way. Pedro Gelabert states that “Happiness is the result of righteous living. Happiness comes to you when you OBEY God. It is the result of OBEYING His Word. To obey God you must know what He says in the Bible. You cannot know God’s will or please Him unless you know His Word, the Bible. There is no other way around it. In fact, this is exactly how Jesus concludes His Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 7:24-27: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
If we live by Christ we shall die with Christ. All else has no meaning. If you seek happiness and fulfillment beyond Christ you will only find pain and unhappiness. By walking with God we will know true happiness and true fulfillment.
Society doesn’t know Jesus like we know Jesus. It has its own brand of morality, its own rules for being happy and its own pathway towards happiness. Don’t be misled by what society offers. Be strong in faith, strong in action and be an example of unconditional love. Only then can you find real happiness and fulfillment while you are still alive.
So, what is the Christian’s secret to a happy and fulfilling life? Seeking out God in every circumstance and allowing Him to shape us into the persons we are meant to be.