Happiness Habit: Focus on Your Purpose, Not the Problem
“If by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose. I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and your joy in the faith.” (Philippians 1:22-25 TEV)
When you stay focused on your purpose, not your problem, you can be happy even when life seems to be falling apart.
Paul was an old man when he was in prison in Rome. He was a long way from home. He was awaiting execution. Everything has been taken from him — his friends, his freedom, his ministry, even his privacy, with a guard chained to him 24 hours a day. It wasn’t exactly a happy time for Paul.
But there was one thing they could not take away from Paul: his purpose. Paul made the choice to stay focused on his purpose, even when he had lost everything else. What was his purpose? Serving God by serving others.
Paul says in Philippians 1:22-25, “If by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose. I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and your joy in the faith” (TEV).
I’ll never forget reading Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who was taken to one of the death camps in Nazi Germany. All of his family and all of his friends were gassed and murdered. He talks in his book about one day when he stood in front of the Gestapo stark naked. They’d taken away the prisoners’ clothes and even Frankl’s wedding ring. He stood there with nothing at all when he suddenly realized there was one thing the Nazis could not take away from him: his choice in how he would respond.
You cannot control what other people do to you. You cannot control what other people do around you. But you can control how you respond.
Talk It Over
What do you believe is your purpose in life?
How does your response to a difficult situation change when you realize that how you respond is your choice?
What distractions or influences are keeping you focused on your problem and not your purpose?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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