Richard J. Davidson, PhD has discovered that, “Eudaimonic well being is much more robust and satisfying than hedonic happiness, and it engages different parts of the brain,” Like me you may be asking what in the world does all that mean? The Eudaimonic term refers to happiness that results from life pursuits. While hedonic happiness refers to a state of happiness that is a result of atmosphere or circumstances. What Dr. Davidson is saying is that the most fulfilling happiness comes from life pursuits. Although happiness may come from someone giving us a gift or going to an enjoyable place, the most fulfilling happiness comes when our lives accomplish something of value.
This is not surprising in light of what we know to be true from the Bible. God has created each of us for a purpose. When we pursue the purpose God has for us than we are able to understand what true joy is all about. In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon summarizes this thought by saying that God has showed us what is good: do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
Are you pursuing what God has for you?
Success is not defined by immediate circumstances. I may look at my life today and say “Wow! I am so the man. I have good looks, I am rich, I have tons of friends. (Or I could tell the truth.) If I have a bad day I could look at what is happening around me and say, “Oh no! I have a worthless miserable life.”
There is a problem with this. As a follower of Christ my rewards are eternal not temporal. If I take a look at my life in this world it may not be great but when it comes to eternity I will be rewarded for my efforts. On the other hand my immediate circumstances could be great. But what I am accomplishing for eternity is nothing.
Take a look at the picture. (click on it to see the whole thing. Trust me it is awesome.)This guy may have caught a lot of air however in a few seconds he is not going to be feeling too great. You could look at his immediate circumstances and say, “he is flying. I wish I could fly.” You may want to fly like him but, I can assure you you won’t want to land like him. Proverbs says beware of the destruction of the wicked when it cometh.
Serving Christ really is worth it even if it doesn’t feel fun right now. It may be easy to sell out to something that would bring “immediate flight.” Don’t take a short cut. This is not to say that life in Christ is miserable. Just remember that challenges come but, if we don’t give up we will reap eternal rewards.
Meditation: Philippians 1:14-18
The Story: Are you a trashcan or a candle? Makenzie and I have a place in the Tampa Bay area. I remember us returning home after a trip and finding that our apartment did not smell very good. (Who am I kidding the place stunk like rotten garbage) I immediately realized that before we had left I had forgotten to take out the trash. The smell from the trashcan had stink bombed the entire apartment. It was one terrible Florida Funk.
On the other hand (far more often than the first) I have come home to a house that smells wonderful. Makenzie has lit a scented candle and the aroma has spread through the entire house. Yankee Candles, is there a better smelling candle? Maybe Yankees are good for something. At least their candles are.
The Step: So again I ask you are you a candle or a trashcan? What “smell” does your life give off? The smell that draws others to Christ or is your life one big stink bomb? Are people repulsed by Christ because of your testimony? Be a positive influence for the kingdom you never know how far your scent is reaching.
Read: Philippians 1:1-30
Meditation: Philippians 1:10-13
Quote of the Day: “Approve things that are excellent!”
The Story: When I got up this morning I brushed my teeth. (Thank you but no applause is necessary.) When I was a little kid the process of brushing my teeth was an annoying waste of time. In fact you could pretty much count on the fact that unless my mom gave me a, “Ben did you brush your teeth? or a “Go brush your teeth right now!” that my teeth would be unclean. Most little kids have this problem. Because they are immature, they don’t see the physical or even the social value of clean teeth. Hopefully as you grow and mature you are able to understand how important the toothbrush is. You can approve of that “excellent thing.”
The Step: How about spiritual maturity? Do you always have to be harassed by a parent or authority figure to do things that you should already be doing as a Christian? Things like reading your Bible, going to church or following Christ should be a natural part of your life. Maybe its time start brushing your spiritual teeth on your own. “Approve things that are excellent.”