Painted Candles

Recently ABC featured a documentary on happiness. It involved extensive research. Their interviews of persons in Third World countries was interesting. When asked how happy they were, they most often answered indicating they had never thought about it. In America we think about it. It seems we have a constant monitor on our “happiness pulse.”

From a number of angles they showed money doesn’t add to our happiness unless we are in abject poverty. Then by relieving hardship it aids. Interviews were conducted with persons who had suddenly come into enormous wealth. Every one told of how it brought them problems, heartaches, and general misery. They were much less happy with it than before.

Interestingly their study showed that some persons are born with physical traits and a disposition for happiness. These physical factors they concluded are responsible for about 50% of our reason for happiness. Their study started with a three month old and went through adults to show such inclination.

One conclusion reached was that persons who had a practical Christian faith tended to be happier than those who did not. The reason is that a sense of commitment and purpose adds to happiness. Such persons have a sense that their life is in control because of their faith in God.

That is part of what Jesus was talking about when He spoke of the meaning of the lives of His followers “they may have it more abundantly.” With Him in control there is a sense of well being resulting in happiness.

May you be like the former evangelist Gypsy Smith, the Billy Graham of his day, who said, “I have never lost the wonder of being a Christian.”  Candidly, the awe of being a Christian is ever growing in the lives of those committed to Him. May you never lose the “awe” of being on the right side of the abundant life.

Our attraction to Jesus should be that of a flower for the sun. There should be a natural attraction. It results in supernatural peace and productivity. Examples abound of persons whose faith has sustained them in times of adversity. One such occurred at a time in England when Christians were being persecuted. Two who were loyal to Jesus were condemned to be burned alive. Their arrest under the rule of “Bloody Mary” in 1555 was typical.

One of the two, Hugh Latimer, said to the other, Nicholas Ridley: “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as, I trust, shall never be put out.”  Indeed, they did. Latimer actually sang hymns as the flames licked out his life. 

In this day when the faith of Christians is being tested let us not be mere painted candles.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) That is His purpose for you.

While rejoicing in that admirable and encouraging truth reflect on the first half of the verse which depict what our adversary is up to: “…the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”

Wisely choose which you long to obey. The contrasts are incomparable.