It's May, and it's Spring, so I thought this a perfect time to share an encouraging blog for spiritual growth! I hope it will cause you to think about what you are doing today to affect your happiness.
I listen to many LinkedIn learning classes for my job. I listen daily to exceptional courses relevant to my career. Last week I heard one that I thought was excellent. It's called "The Five Thieves of Happiness." It is based on a book written by John Izzo. While listening to the class, I kept thinking, "This is Biblical; I need to share it."
Note: The reference to the Five Thieves of Happiness is from John Izzo's book, and the Biblical interpretation is mine!
The Five Thieves:
Let's start with Control.
Control is one of the worst thieves of happiness, and as a Believer, we must realize we have no control over anything (except our actions-or-self control). The more we try to control others and circumstances, the more this attitude robs us of our joy and happiness.
Romans 12:2 says:
“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Control is a trait of the world, not of God. It is an action that removes our ability to perceive and respond in the spirit. Control opposes the spirit and leaves us acting out in our flesh. As followers of Yeshua, our rescue is to decide to daily surrender our will and conform to His will through the transforming Word of God. This discipline is the opposite of control.
Read: Proverbs 25:28, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 46:1-3, Proverbs 3:7
Conceit is thinking too highly of ourselves and bragging about ourselves. This trait makes us believe that we can do this or that better than anyone else. It's the opposite of humility. Humility is a Godly trait and one that our Lord, Messiah Yeshua, constantly mirrored while He was on the earth. Conceit gets us into trouble and will affect our relationship with God and others. It's one of the reasons Satan was thrown out of Heaven.
Romans 12:16 says:
“Live in harmony with one another; do not be proud but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own eyes.”
Have you ever met an arrogant person, someone who constantly brags about him or herself? I find it extremely difficult to listen to a person like this, and we all know that unity is not nurtured where there is boasting and pride. What's the cure? Saturation in the Word of God! We are nothing without Messiah. Acts 17:28
Read: Proverbs 3:7, Jeremiah 9:23, Philippians 2:1-11
Exodus 20:17 says:
Do not covet your neighbor's house, your neighbor's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."
This Scripture says it all! We are not to covet! With coveting comes comparison and then discontent. Covetousness fosters an unholy desire to have what someone else has and tells God we are not satisfied with what He has provided for us. It is a slap in God's face.
Coveting gets us in trouble. We must protect ourselves from this sin and give thanks with grateful hearts. Is it possible to overcome? Yes, it is. The key is to stay in the Word and stay humble and thankful in all things.
Read: Romans 7:7, Ephesians 5:3, Ephesians 4:28
The children of Israel lived in a land of excess; Egypt. They were accustomed to their surroundings and became comfortable in their captivity. The pull of Egypt was not easy to let go of in the desert wilderness where they were led.
Exodus 32:2-6 says:
Aaron said to them, "Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took them from their hand and fashioned them with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt."
Consumption — consumes us. Overeating, drinking to the point of being drunk, buying more than you need, and the list goes on and on. Consumption is an old terminology for wasting, as in the wasting disease of tuberculosis. If we become imbalanced and do things in excess, it will often lead to sin (disease of the soul). The above Scripture is an excellent example of this. The children of Israel were not satisfied with being led out of slavery in Egypt; they remembered their soft beds, the riches of the land, and what they left behind. They literally would have returned to bondage to have the comforts of home. They went wild when Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments.
We can be physically and spiritually affected by what is around us. The temptation of excess can rub off on us too, and we might begin to think it’s okay and correct behavior to consume more than God has for us. But the Bible is specific about being content, so this is where SELF CONTROL is a good thing!
Read: Numbers 11:32, Amos 6:4-6, Isaiah 56:12, Philippians 3:19, Luke 16: 19-31
Matthew 5:1-12 says: “Now when Yeshua saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain. And after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “
We can't find comfort in the things of this world. We must always be awake in spirit and never be too comfortable. If we are too relaxed and begin to make lazy choices about neglecting our relationship with God and His Word, fellowship, and prayer—our guard goes down, and bad things get through the gates. Being spiritually alert means, we remain on the edge and stay watchful.
How do we combat the Five Thieves of Happiness?
We stay alert! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:
Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.
We must do everything we can to stay in the Spirit and out of the flesh. The Spirit opposes the flesh. They are opposites. When we are alert, the Spirit warns us of dangers.
Stop and listen! Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, so that in the end you may be wise. Stop doing everything and listen to what the Lord is saying. Be still and listen!
Replace negativity with words of life! Isaiah 40:8 says: The grass withers, the flower fades. but the word of our God stands forever. 2 Timothy 3:16 says: All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness. We must practice speaking words of life over ourselves, family, friends, co-workers, and everyone we meet. God’s Word is the best combat against the five thieves of happiness. God's word is always alive!
I pray this teaching has helped you by reminding you to be aware. “You make known to me the path of life, in Your presence there is fullness of joy, at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 ESV
Thank you, Father, for Your blessings on everyone who reads this today. Teach us to be spiritually alert. Please help us stop, listen, and speak words of life over every situation we encounter. Let us be a testimony to everyone we meet. Let our lives be a living sacrifice to You today and always. In Yeshua's name. Amen.
Unless otherwise notated, Scripture quotations are from the Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society. All rights reserved