Connecting Happiness and Love
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a
by Robert J. Young

Our theme for February is love--love for God, self, Jesus, others, world, church, neighbor, family, husband/wife, kids, friends, other Christians... The list seems endless. With so many options, we may not even know what love is.
What is Love? Love is not a gushy feeling better felt than told. Love is not merely emotion. Love is thoughtful. Paul has a list, 1 Cor. 13. Consider.
We do not know how to think about love without an object. I love....someone, something. We misunderstand love. We talk about it, but few are doing anything about it. God is love. God was love before there were people to love. Love is in God's nature. God is love.
In the German language we have the concept of angst, undirected anxiety. What are you worried about? Nothing, everything. It is hard to find mental health with such abstract anxiety. But there may be a place for such abstract love. Love that is who we are, tied to our nature, making us like God. Love that does not depend upon the one loved, but solely upon the nature and character of the one loving.
When we understand this kind of love, love and happiness are companions. I am reminded of the children's song sung so often in Vacation Bible School: "If you're happy and you know it...."
Even our world shares the message: "Relax, just have fun, don't worry."

This is hard to do because we live in a pressure packed world. Our world is filled with business, busyness. Coping, not coping. Time, no time. People who responded to a recent survey said they were not happy. Happiness in our society/culture is always future, just around the corner. That is because happiness is defined in externals. I will be happy when I change my outside, my circumstances. Happiness is misunderstood. Happiness is ultimately internal.
Happiness is not really available in things, accomplishments, promotions, the list seems endless. I will be happy when....I finish college, when I get married. If you are married, when my marriage gets better. When I finish school, when I can go back to school. When I have kids, when the kids are gone. Why are we not happy? Why is our world not happy? Consider.

I. Some are not happy because their life has no meaning.
What is my life about? Is my life going anywhere? Does my life matter? Does anybody care? Some simply cannot love life, see good days.

II. Some are not happy because their life has no God.
Only self, only externals, only the outside. No inside. No sense of self. No worship. No god. Cannot love God.

III. Some are not happy because their life has no balance.
No orientation, only confusion. No knowledge that really matters. No sense of knowledge, education, stability, balance. Cannot choose things that matter enough to be loved.

IV. Some are not happy because their life has no purpose.
No direction, no satisfaction. Cannot see reason for love.

V. Some are not happy because their life has no friends.
Do not know who, how to love.

Are you happy? In Christ Jesus, we know love and happiness.

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Last updated February 26, 2001.