Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.
Thousands of psychological studies have all linked “thankfulness” to “happiness” – it’s called the attitude of gratitude, and Paul reveals carrying this Number One attitude will increase joy in your life.
Paul says:“I thank my God every time I remember you… I always pray with joy”.
When you are grateful for the people in your life, rather than complaining about what’s wrong with them, it will increase happiness.
Let me ask you a question – when you think of the important people in your life, do you think good thoughts?
It’s an important question because a key biblical principle to successful living is thinking good thoughts (Philippians 4:8). For many Christians, though they are thinking about all the ‘wrong things’ and what’s ‘not right.’
But the Apostle Paul’s first thought, right there at the beginning of this letter to the church in Philippi, is gratitude – and it’s not a once off thought, it's habitual. “I thank God every time I remember you.
Gratitude is an important habit in relationships.
Now here is the challenge with relationships, the longer I know someone, the more I seem to take them for granted. The more I focus on their faults, the easier it is to forget the good times. So, we have to develop this habit of gratitude in our lives – it does not come naturally, it will take some work, some intentionality, some effort. You will need to change the way you think and speak; you will need to change the way you react – it will not be easy.
But Paul chose to go there. He chose to be thankful; he chose to go to joy. And this is remarkable because, for Paul, he had every reason not to be thankful or joyful. The church-plant at Philippi was very difficult. So many things went wrong there – he was beaten, flogged, humiliated, falsely accused, arrested, told to leave town and then there were even earthquakes. But in this letter, he never mentions those things once!
Paul reveals thankfulness and joy are decisions you make, that bring happiness in your life. We create the habits of our heart by the choices we make rather than waiting for our circumstances to make us happy.
Meditate upon the following five laws of happiness for a while. They will then make it clear the next steps you need to take to develop the habits that create happiness in your life.
Five Laws of Happiness:
1. Don’t look for happiness (in things, situations or people), create it.
2. Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.
3. My habits create my happiness.
4. Happiness based on circumstances is temporary, happiness based on habits is long-lasting.
5. Happy habits are as addictive as bad habits.