Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Living after the Manner of Happiness

Living after the Manner of Happiness

There is not a person on this earth that doesn't crave happiness, yet as we wander and try to chase it, it flits out of our grasp like an illusive butterfly.  Much to our dismay, we find that...
"Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume." -James E. Faust
Given the tests, trials and learning experiences this earth life is intended to provide, I do not believe that God intended to make us happy 24 hours a day

Happiness is not so much a destination as
 it is the manner in which we choose to live.

How do we live after the manner of happiness when so many unhappy things surround us?

"In God's plan we can do very much to find the happiness we desire and we can be happy so very much of the time." We can take certain steps, we can form certain habits that follow what God has shown us in history lead to happiness.  We can have confidence that if we live in such a manner, that our chances to find happiness will improve exponentially as we, "find joy in unexpected moments, and peace is unexpected places... find the help of angels when we didn't even know that they existed or that they knew that we existed."- Jeffery R. Holland

"Ultimate happiness, true peace, anything remotely resembling scriptural joy are found first and foremost in living the gospel of Jesus Christ."- Jeffery R. Holland

This is the key then... actually living the gospel, not just knowing about it.  Christ said, "I am the way, the truth and the life... and whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do... and if ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:6, 13-14)

He is saying to his disciples in essence 'live my way and my truth... live my life... live in this manner that I am teaching you and  then what you ask will be right and true and it will come.'  It may not come immediately and it may not come until Heaven, but we are promised that it will come.
"Unlike gratification or pleasure or some kind of thrill true happiness if found only along that well beaten gospel track." - David O McKay.   
Love God, love each other and be true to the gospel.
We need to learn that so much of our happiness is in our hands...
"it is not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune... We can choose, if not happiness per say, we can choose to live after the manner of happiness."- Holland

Four Key Aspects to Living After the Manner of Happiness

1. Think and speak and act positively. 

This is what happy people do!  It is a simple truth that...
"Folks are usually as happy as they make up their minds to be."- Abraham Lincoln
Happiness starts first with what comes into our heads a long time before it it is realized in our hands. So we start with the thoughts that we choose. The things that we desire and choose to think about will become what shapes us and our lives.
"God expects a willing mind in the quest for happiness as well.  Put your head into this.  All of this takes effort.  It is a battle, a battle for happiness that is worth waging."- Jeffery R. Holland
Our determined effort to manage and choose the thoughts and feelings to act on makes a huge different in the happiness that we see in our lives.
"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort, you fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and look for it.  You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings and once you have sustained a state of happiness never become lax in maintaining it.  You must make a might effort to keep swimming up into that happiness... to stay afloat un top of it."  -Elizabeth Gilbert

2. Happy people are never unkind or unpleasant to be with

"You can NEVER build your happiness on someones else's unhappiness." Tearing other people down will never build us up. "Happy people are NOT negative or cynical or mean, so don't plan on that being part of the manner of happiness."-Jeffery R. Holland
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness.  Let it be in your face, in your eyes and in your smile." -Mother Theresa
3. Avoid animosity, anger and contention in your life.

Satan is the perpetrator of all negative feelings. "He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil... and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.(3 Nephi 11:29)  
"That verb stir sound like a recipes for disaster. Put tempers on medium heat stir in a few choice words, bring to a boil. Continue Stirring until thick, cool off and let feelings chill for several days.  Serve cold.  Lots of leftovers' -Lynn G. Robins
"Lots of leftovers indeed! Sometimes the damage goes on and on and on"..as "anger damages or destroys almost everything it touches."
"To harbor anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  It is a vicious acid that will destroy the container long before it does damage to the intended object."- unknown
"I do not think that anger can exist or at least can be foster and entertained and indulged in in a life that is being lived after the manner of happiness."

4.  If you want to be happy.., then work at it!  

As we learn to work and serve others diligently, satisfaction flows into our lives.  As we improve ourselves our self-esteem improves.
"A homespun definition of Christlike character might be: "The integrity to do the right thing at the right time and in the right way." Don't be idol and wasteful of the opportunities before you.. "including laboring for and serving others... one of the truly great keys to happiness."

How can we change our thoughts, our feelings and our actions to more fully change us and live after the manner of happiness?

I invite you to ask God this question and begin to study and act on those traits that will help you be a better person and live after the manner of happiness.

Additional Resource:

Robbins, Lynn G. "Agency and Anger," April 1998 - This is a great short talk about our ability to not choose anger and how that affects our family relationship

Unmarked quotes are from Jeffery R Holland given in a BYUI Devotional "Living After the Manner of Happiness," Sept 2014


  1. If anger does not exist, how can it have an effect on the one that it does not exist in?
    EX: If one is drowned by the rain, can te rain effect that person that is drowned to it?

    1. Anger definitely exists... I see it displayed everyday when people get upset about the traffic or waiting in line. It is an emotion that I have to fight. If you don't ever get angry, then you are a better man than I am woman! I find that I have to identify the emotions that I am feeling and I have to choose not to dwell on them and to change them. I can have a desire not to be angry when I feel those feelings. I can choose to pray for help to overcome them instead of lashing at a someone. I can choose to make myself think positively about them instead. I think about how this world would be such a better place if people would identify their feeling and choose to act on the good ones and attempt to change the bad ones! That change is not possible by ourselves, but as we turn to God and ask for His help, His grace is sufficient to help us do better and be better. I have seen this happen in my life as I have applied the principle of repentance and asked to be different. He cannot change us unless we come to him with a "broken heart and a contrite spirit."

      (Psalms 51:17) 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

      Only when we feel that 'godly sorrow' and desire to be better can He help us change. If we feel justified or content with being angry or having those negative feelings then our hearts are hardened unto him just like the Pharisee's and His grace cannot flow into a "hard heart. "

      (John 12: 40) He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

      To answer your other question that you posted in a google site... "In Christ are we not dead to sin, by his resurrection?"

      Because of Christ we will be all resurrected, but because of the flesh we are all still subject to sin, or at least I am! Try as hard as I might, I still make mistakes. That is where REPENTANCE comes into play. We are to 'come to Him' and confess and forsake our sins. We are to have a "godly sorrow" for the things that we have done wrong and we are to ask Him for help to be better.

      (2 Corintians 7:10)" For a GODLY SORROW worketh REPENTANCE to salvation..."

      If we come with broken hearts and contrite spirits and really want to change and try to change, His grace will help us do that. We become clean and worthy of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives every time we repent. So repenting is so important to the process of becoming alive in Christ and dead to sin. The more we repent, the more we desire to change and the more He can help us change. As we realign our desires with His desires, we become more ONE with Him and He is in us.

      Revelation 3: 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and REPENT.

      20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

      21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

      So we must open the door, we must seek and act and knock. These are active things that we do to "overcome" the world and be ONE in Christ. We have to let Him in by being obedient and that means repenting when we make mistakes.

      Repenting and changing our negative or sinful desires helps us be more like Him and helps us in our relationships. When we do that we can feel true joy and happiness, not pleasure from selfishness. This is God's joy.