7 Steps to a Happy Life

Everyone wants a happy life. Few know how to have one.

A recent Google search for How to Live a Happy Life turned up a list that included these suggestions: 
Fake it ‘til you feel it, buy some happiness, and realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Wow. Add Jump off a bridge and end it all and the list will be complete.

Thankfully, when I dug a little deeper, I discovered the writer was using some clever literary techniques to make her point, and her article wasn’t as depressing as the initial list has led me to believe. 

My search also discovered Tom Casano’s article, 15 Simple Ways to Live a Happy Life, in the Huffington Post. In contrast to my first impression of the first list, his suggestions were very uplifting, probably because many of them were biblically based. Help others, be thankful, and share are a few of his suggestions. 

The best list, however, is harder to find in a search engine. If you type 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 into your browser, however, it will pop up. 

Would you like to read God’s 7-step prescription for how to live a happy life? Here it is:

1. Rejoice always! 

Writers are taught to use exclamation points sparingly, reserving them for only the most enthusiastic exclamations. Any editor in town, however, would agree that this two-word sentence that includes the root word JOY should most certainly end in an exclamation point. 

Rejoicing always includes celebrating the simple things, greeting everyone with a smile, and letting nothing good go unnoticed. 

2. Pray constantly. 

The only way to navigate this troubled world with joy is to maintain constant communication with its Creator. Like a phone call we never hang up on, communication should flow between us and our Savior all day long. This is possible because of our relationship with Jesus, “because he always lives to intercede for (us)” (Hebrews 7:25). When we bring every need, fear, and hope to God through prayer, we walk with a lighter step, because we’ve transferred the load onto Jesus’ broad shoulders. 

3. Give thanks in everything. 

The ability to give thanks in everything begins with the firm confidence that God is working all things out for our good and his glory. When we encounter a situation that seems to be less than God’s ideal, we wait and watch in simple trust. 

As Jennifer Kennedy Dean, author of Live a Praying Life, says, 

 “When you are in a situation that has an outcome that seems not to be according to God’s will, wait to see what happens next. The story is not over. That circumstance will set the stage for the next event, which will lay the foundation for the next step, which will open the door for the next piece of the plan, and on and on. Finally, you will look back from a place in your life that is ‘immeasureably more than all (you) ask or imagine’ (Eph. 3:20), and you will say, ‘I could not be here if I’d never been there.’” 

Giving thanks in everything is an expression of trust, even when we don’t see God’s hand at work in our lives. 

4. Don’t stifle the Spirit. 

Romans 8:11 tells us that when we place our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. As our constant companion, he convicts us of sin and of righteousness (John 16:8). Through his still, small voice, he points us toward the good and warns us away from the bad. 

Sadly, it’s possible to quench, grieve, or stifle the Spirit’s voice. Repeatedly ignoring or arguing with his promptings makes it harder to hear him. Filling our minds with worldly philosophies while neglecting God’s word makes it more difficult to discern truth. Finally, disobeying the Holy Spirit when he nudges you to do a kind act or say a kind word stifles his ability to work through you for good in the world. 

5. Don’t despise prophecies, (but test all things). 

The Bible definition of prophecy (and its verb, to prophesy) is two fold: it means to foretell as in to reveal a future event, and it means to forthtell, as in to provide biblical instruction. This verse specifically encourages us not to despise the forthtelling of God’s word. 

In other words, don’t take preaching and teaching lightly. Don’t think you’re above instruction. Don’t assume every message is meant for someone else. Don’t criticize the pastor so you won’t be held accountable for his message. Assume every message you hear or read is sent from God to you for the purpose of making you more like Jesus. 

But there’s one caveat: hold every message (secular and religious) you hear and read – on television, radio, music, theatre, literature and the news up to the standard of God’s Word. If it agrees with the Bible, embrace it. If it contradicts it, discard it. 

6. Hold on to what is good. 

Some translations say cling to or hold fast. Simply put, this command tells us not to let go of what’s good in our lives. Dig in and fight for it. Open your news browser on any given day and you’ll see evidence of how the enemy is trying to steal, kill, and destroy. 

Your marriage? Hold fast. Purity of thought and action? Cling tightly. Godly friends? Hold on. A church that preaches the Bible without compromise? Dig in. Strap on the belt of truth. Lift up the shield of faith. Clothe yourselves with humility. Hold on and don’t let go. 

7. Stay away from every kind of evil. 

This one is a no-brainer. To have a happy life, we must avoid the deeds of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, and carousing. 

Our world is filled to the brim with things that are good, pure, true, honest, just, lovely, and virtuous. We must cultivate an appetite for these things and spurn the others. Seven simple steps to a happy life. Why not try them today? 

Rejoice always! 
Pray constantly. 
Give thanks in everything, 
Don’t stifle the Spirit. 
Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. 
Hold on to what is good. 
Stay away from every kind of evil. 
(I Thes. 5:16-22)

 Now it’s your turn. Which of these has most helped you live a happy life? Leave a comment below and bless us all.

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  1. I agree-this is the best list! For me it's holding on to what is good: Philippians 4:8-9. Thanks for giving the visual in the post.

    1. That's another great pattern to follow, Marilyn. I agree!

  2. What a lovely way to begin my day. Thank you.

    1. You're most welcome, Friend. Blessings to you today:)

  3. And seven is the perfect number. :-D
    Thank you for this helpful input. <3

  4. Hi Lori.... Just letting you know that I have nominated you for the 2017 Blogger Recognition Award. You will find it here at . Hope it blesses you as it has blessed me. God bless, Tracy


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