By Greg Johnson
There are a lot of things that make you happy. Some of these last for a short while, others for a longer period of time. In all honesty, say which things would make you the most happy:
• Getting a new bike or taking a trip to the beach with the family for a whole week.
• Becoming best friends with the most popular person in your grade or having a not-so-popular neighbor kid become a Christian at your church one day.
• Taking a trip at Christmas to be with grandparents or staying home and getting more presents.
• Going to a water slide park for the day or spending the day helping Mom clean the house of a widow who is too old to clean it herself.
• Breaking your arm or getting a new Super Nintendo game.
• Going out to lunch after church or handing out food baskets to poor people in the park.
• Learning you have a treatable cancer condition or going through all of your school years as a normal kid with no problems.
Questions to Think On
• Some of these choices aren’t that tough, are they? One thing I’ve learned as a parent is that what we place value on determines our happiness more than the absence of trouble. How do you think “bad” circumstances can help us be happy?
• Does getting new stuff really make us happy?
• This is a tough one: What do you think is the difference between happiness and joy? Which would you rather have?
• Mom and Dad: Why is it so tempting to go after short-term happiness instead of longer-term joy?
What Does God Have to Say?
I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.