Habit of Happiness: A Philippians Study

The back story:

In an instant someone could release their grip.  Life ebbs and flesh is still, cold.  One year ago, today, a child I had done ministry with died at the age of 17.  He was a devoted follower of Christ.  My world was rocked.  I’ve always known death to be a natural occurrence, always existing in the peripheral.  It can happen at any time, but it felt distant.  It was the first time that someone younger than me (and not a stillborn) entered through the gates to bow before the throne eternally.

Digressing from the above, but it ties in so stay attuned:  I’ve been increasingly angry, disgruntled, and all around miserable to be around.  I can blame it on pregnancy hormones and my lack of sleep, but it is not who Christ calls me to be.  There are no excuses for indulging in the flesh.  It is sin and I am to be repentant.  On that front, I need to look at what the root cause is.

My faith has felt dead lately, route.  This dissonance in faith is not God’s fault.  He says, “…I will never leave you or forsake you.”-Heb. 13:5  We need not fear the uncertainty of life or trust in idols because God is omnipresent.  Any distance I feel is something I am doing.  I know that.  Anyways, I feel that part of the problem has been my inclination to complain.  I need to exercise gratitude.

My YouVersion app has Bible plans.  In searching for an exegetical study on Philippians, I came across a plan “Habit of Happiness”.  Mind you, this is not the type of study I was looking for.  However, it is still applicable to changes I need to see in my life.  As such, I decided to start this plan.

It begins by saying our relationships often dissolve and disintegrate because we lack thankfulness for that person’s presence in our life.  Before I know it, I could lose people that I feel disdain to, but that are very important and whom I really do love.  For example, relationships with my sister and my mother have leaned towards estranged more times than not.  However, I need to think about how I am not being grateful for them and alter my attitude.

I might have to say goodbye before I’m ready and if I don’t start recognizing their positive contribution to my life, I might stew in regret until I breathe my last. (See the tie-in to why Dominick’s death plays a part?)

As such, it is time for a change.  Here is my attempt at fostering a habit of Happiness, starting by being grateful for family or friends that I tend to have strained interactions with.

My mother-strong-willed, not a push-over.  She teaches me to have high aspirations and believe I can reach the stars.  She is inspirational in that she sets her mind to something and pursues that goal.  She is not easily discouraged from pursuing her interests.  She is also generous to others who are hard-working.

My sister-once my sister comes to faith in Christ, the world will be forever changed.  She is going to have one incredible ministry!!!  She is a passionate person and if she loves you, she will fight heavily for you.  She is also determined.  She is sensitive too.

My friend Richie-he is not easily persuaded and has strong convictions.  He is also a determined person.  When he decides to do something, he goes for it.

My friend Karen-she is deeply passionate about pursuing Christ and encourages others to do the same.  She lives out devoted loyalty to her husband even when others question why.  Her fight for her marriage encourages others not to give up on their marriage even when it is tough.

My friend Michelle-she is a no-nonsense person who speaks her mind.  She is honest and I am grateful for that.

These individuals might make you meet fury if you cross them, but they will fight for you when they feel that you are being belittled.  They are deeply passionate folks and good to have in your arsenal against Satan.  They will challenge you to stretch yourself in the work that you do and in your own pursuit of faith.  My devotion to Christ is always strengthened to some degree through their encouragement or our conflict.  I should ALWAYS treasure that.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”-Phil. 1:3

Thank God for every person in your life, especially those with whom you find it difficult to converse with at times.


2 Replies to “Habit of Happiness: A Philippians Study”

  1. Thanks for this. It makes me think of the people in my life that I get easily upset at, and makes me wonder why– I wonder if there is a common quality among them that gets under my skin? I’ll definitely be thinking about that for a while.

  2. I had to put thought into it as well during the devotion. I definitely see a commonality among these individuals. I hope you are well and will be able to figure out how gratitude in spite of annoyances works in your life.

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