"A Formula for Happiness"
August 26, 2014
(Jesus said) "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
My friends, science is a wonderful thing.
Once again I am amazed at the answers the scientific community has provided. For example, it tells me a simple equation will allow you to calculate how happy you will be at any given moment in time. (See Discover magazine's related online article for August 6.) Now if you can understand and use this equation, you can probably skip over the next paragraph in this devotion.
Assuming you are still with me, here's the common horse-sense version of these scientific calculations. These brilliant men and women have found that people with low expectations are pretty happy folks: happier than most everyone else. You see, people with high expectations are sad because they are constantly being disappointed, while people with low expectations are almost always pleased at how wonderful things have turned out.
Now, to the group who stayed with me and the folks who have just returned, let me say I think Jesus would disagree with that equation.
No, He wouldn't disagree with the fact that this world can offer some pretty serious pains and problems. Like you and me, Jesus knows better. In the verse above the Savior even tells us we will have tribulations as long as we live in this world. No, the Savior's objection is found in the fatalistic attitude that believes these tribulations will always have the last word. They shouldn't and, at least for Christians, they don't.
You see, Jesus is the Game Changer.
That is why He tells us, "Take heart! I have overcome the world." Because Jesus has defeated sin, the devil, and death, all those who believe on Him as their Savior, find the negative things of this life are no longer in control.
Think for a moment. What is your great sorrow in life?
* Do you feel lonely? Jesus says, "I am with you always" (see Matthew 28:20).
* Do you think nobody even knows you exist? Jesus tells us the Lord who watches over the sparrows and the flowers in the fields is fully aware of our situation and stands ready to help us.
* Does everything seem dark, dismal and depressing? Jesus remains the Light of the world. (See John 8:12.)
Although it doesn't fit into the scientific formula above, we can always be happy because Jesus has overcome the world.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the crucified and risen Redeemer has provided the answers to life's great questions; He is light to the darkest of times. In His Name we rejoice and are glad, and in His Name we pray. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries