Join Us This Weekend

online

Copyright Grace Church
 

The Thief of Happiness

The Thief of Happiness

By Sean Sears on 7/26/20 in our series “Staycation“.

There are things in this world that will rob us of our happiness. Most of the time, we think that our current circumstances are the greatest threat to our happiness, and so we do all we can to numb the pain we feel. We self medicate through things like ignorance, alcohol, drugs, or food in a feeble attempt to gain our happiness back. As we finish up this series, Pastor Sean talks about how our attempts to relieve the pain often only extend it by bringing about guilt and shame, only to be faced with the same issues when the numbness wears off. So how does the Bible say we should approach the pain and circumstances in our life. And what does God say is the best path for us to take to experience happiness and contentment in the way He designed?

Message Notes

  • Moments when I chose immediate gratification, pleasure, relief which left me with longer periods of regret.
  • Jesus warned us that there are things in the world threatening to rob you of your happiness and well-being.

‭‭John‬ ‭10:11‬ “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”

I’m the one who will take care of you.

  • If I would sacrifice my life for you, would I not care about everything else in your life?
  • “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32

Can we acknowledge that we may have faulty assumptions about God?

  • In light of this, we can assume that EVERYTHING he’s ever asked of us will lead us to that end
  • The ONLY REASON we have a hard time with that, is because we don’t really believe he’s a GOOD shepherd.
  • Whole series is to convince you that God’s plan is your contentment and, ultimately, your happiness in him…in every your life
  • Creation itself is wrapped in happiness. 
  • Jesus started with the conditions on which God makes people happy

Before we get into how He protects His sheep from wolves/thieves, we need to see who his sheep actually are. 

John 10:9, “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.”

  • Not everyone is HIS sheep
  • Only those who follow Jesus, belong to Jesus

John 10:24-28, “The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,”

Protect your happiness by making sure to listen to what God has already said

  • If you are not, right now, a follower of Jesus, then you are on your own
  • Good News: Luke 15 says the shepherd is looking for you

Jesus said, in John 14, that if you love him, you’ll do what he says

  • Why? Because you believe he’s a GOOD shepherd
  • You believe that living according to his purpose for your life, is the best way to guarantee that your life works out well

Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Why do we need to listen to the Shepherd, in order to be happy?

John 10:10-16, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”

  • Because there are thieves and wolves! That’s why we need the shepherd
  • Problem: we think the greatest threat to our happiness is our current circumstances
  • Solution: we think finding relief, by any means, is the way get back to our happiness
  • How’s that working for you?
  • Everything you and I go after, to relieve our pain outside of Jesus, is the hired hand that flees as soon as the act of escape is over
  • When we seek relief from pain, rather than deliverance through pain, we end up with greater regret and sorrow.

We thought the thief was sadness, sexual unfulfillment, loneliness, poverty, sickness, grief.

  • Pain points to the problem needing to be solved, not to be numbed
  • These are the storms that come into the life of EVERY sheep
  • The thieves and wolves are the things that take us farther from the SHEPHERD

 

What should I do when I feel my happiness slipping away?

Get closer to the Shepherd when you feel your happiness slipping away

  • Ephesians 4:17-32, “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
  • Recognize the difference between Escape and Rescue
  • Escape is running from the Problem and Rescue is being carried through the problem
  • Paul said that rescue comes from not giving a foothold to the Devil (thief/wolf)
  • How do I follow the voice of my shepherd through pain
    1. Identify and reject your unhealthy patterns of dealing with pain, loss, loneliness and sadness
    2. Remove the opportunity to quickly seek relief (no alcohol, increased accountability, debt solution, tossing junk food, getting rid of some of your subscriptions, distancing from unhealthy people, etc)
    3. Remind myself that the Spirit within me is thrilled/grieved what I’m about to do and that there is a very real consequence on the other side of this choice
    4. Choose an act of kindness, compassion, forgiveness as an expression of gratitude to God

James 1:2-18, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they [you] will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became [are] his prized possession.”

LIFE APPLICATION:

Every one of us are sheep – we are either stranded sheep or rescued sheep.

  • Shepherd is willing to make ANY sheep his sheep
  • Jesus said to listen to his voice and follow him

His sheep are still hunted by the same thieves and wolves as stranded sheep. 

  • advantage is that we have a shepherd
  • We are either following him or we are not

_________________________________________________________

Application Questions

1. What stood out to you from this message and why?

2. What is one thing God is telling you to START doing because of this message?

3. What is one thing God is telling you to STOP doing because of this message?

4. How will this message change how you act at home, work and in the your relationships?