June 09, 2024

Happiness, Continuous Learning

Philippians 4:10-20

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

—  Philippians 4:11

A prison would surely seem more like a cage than a classroom. But some of God’s faithful servants landed in prison, and they learned precious lessons from their time in captivity.

The apostle Paul, for example, waited in a Roman prison for two years to appeal his case to Caesar. And during that time he was able to share the good news of Jesus with many people who visited him (see Acts 28:16-31). Paul had been through many trials and hardships—all related to sharing the gospel of Christ. And he gave thanks that even “the whole palace guard” had learned why he was in chains (Philippians 1:13). Instead of allowing bitterness to fill his heart, Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Happiness is not a reality that is outside of us; it is an attitude that flows from within us. There are people who seem to have everything—and yet they have nothing. There are rich poor and poor rich. Though a person may be in chains, their heart can live in paradise. Others may tread on velvet carpets, but their soul can be in the torment of hell. Happiness is not automatic; it involves a learning process. We are happy when our source of pleasure is in God and not in material things, when our soul delights in the provider and not in the provisions. God is the source of our happiness, not things!

Great God, source of all good, when the satisfaction of our soul is in you, we can have joy, whether we are poor or rich or somewhere in between. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Hernandes became the Portuguese ministry leader for Today's sister Portuguese ministry in 2010. He also serves as the director of the organization Luz Para o Caminho (Light for the Way), an organization formed in partnership between ReFrame and the Presbyterian
Church of Brazil. Hernandes has authored more than 160 books and is a popular and respected conference speaker in Brazil. Hernandes graduated from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Brazil and earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in
Jackson, MS.

Hernandes and his wife, Tinha, have two adult children.

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