“Many, LORD, are asking, ‘Who will bring us prosperity?’
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.”— Psalm 4:6–
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein quotes:
What’s it going to take for people to be happy?
We live in a world of smart-phones, the internet, and air-travel – things that our ancestors could not imagine. We have relative abundance and conveniences that kings of the past could only dream of. Our grocery stores are well-stocked and we have indoor plumbing, two things that much of humanity still lives without.
But, for most people, that’s not enough: “Many, LORD, are asking, ‘Who will bring us prosperity?’” People want to know, “Who will invent the next big thing? What will it be? Maybe when we have that, then we will be happy!”
I love the following quote from actor Jim Carrey. He said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of … so they can see it’s not the answer.”
Most people answer the question of happiness with an item or an aspiration: “If only I had a new (fill-in-the-blank) — then I would be happy.” “If only I achieved success and recognition — then I would be happy.” This thinking governs so many of the decisions that we make and how we spend our time, day-in and day-out. But as Jim Carrey says, having experienced living with both fame and fortune, neither will make us happy. Happiness cannot be bought or given.
Happiness is a choice, and it comes from choosing God.
Dr. Charles Stanley in his devotion “Our True Identity” from Ephesians 1:3-8 very rightly says : When I hear a believer announce, “I’m just a sinner,” I feel like saying, “That’s what you used to be.” A lot of folks cling to a view of themselves as a patched-up, slightly-better-than-before version of their old self. The Bible contradicts that opinion: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). In fact, according to Scripture, we’re dramatically different once we are complete in Christ.
The question is whether people will trust in what they feel or believe what God says about them. His Word calls us saints (Rom. 1:7), disciples (Matt. 28:19), and fellow heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17). If your opinion is that you are “just a sinner,” then you cannot fully experience and enjoy your identity in Christ.
Believing what God says about our new self is a choice. Satan certainly conspires to convince believers that God’s Word doesn’t apply to them. He knows that people held captive by spiritual poverty back away from opportunities to share the gospel and serve the Lord’s kingdom. It’s much easier to spiritually bankrupt someone who already thinks of him- or herself as “just a sinner” than it is to conquer a disciple who knows God is his loving Father.
Our true identity is defined not by our past actions but by the Savior’s. Jesus purchased our lives with His blood and brought us into relationship with God the Father, who adopted us as beloved children. We have every reason to hold our heads high, stand firm, and courageously proclaim the gospel.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
God has something specific for you to do!
Do you see it in the verse? There are “good works which God prepared beforehand” so that you would walk in them. God has prepared a job just for you. But don’t let that make you nervous, because He has also prepared you just for that job!
“We are His workmanship”, it says. That word “workmanship” implies very meticulous, painstaking, highly skilled labour. God has meticulously, painstakingly designed your life-experiences with great skill in order to bring you to a place of readiness for His call on your life.
We readily accept that missionaries have a `call’ from God. And we want our pastor to feel called to his position. But sometimes when we are tradespeople or business people or university students or raising children—then we don’t see ourselves as having a calling.
But actually, every one of us has a calling from God, a specific way that He wants to use you, something He has designed you for. That is why every believer is given spiritual gifts. God may call you into a business setting with people that will never be exposed to organised church. How can you change the way you view your situation so that you are available for God’s calling on your life?*
*Jack North, Ambassadors for Christ International