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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Roman emperor Augustus

AN INSIDE JOB

For many people trying to find happiness seems almost impossible. It seems
that happiness is always just beyond their grasp and it is a daily struggle
for some to go on dealing with the many challenges of life. It is so easy to
look around us and believe that others lives are happier than our own. We
look at them and believe, "if I had a husband or wife like 'theirs', I would
be happy". "If I just had 'their job', I would be happy". "If I just lived
it 'their house', I would be happy". And of course the list could go on and
on.

I heard a story about the Roman emperor Augustus. Augustus was a man with a
troubled heart for a variety of reasons. The empire was continually at war.
Constant intrigue stalked the halls of government. Sounds a lot like our
country today doesn't it? Augustus, this troubled emperor, heard about a man
in Rome who was heavily in debt. Yet, despite his financial woes, this man
slept peacefully.

So impressed was Augustus when he heard about this man who was heavily in
debt and yet slept peacefully, that Augustus went to the man and offered to
buy his bed.

Think about that for a moment, was he that much different from you and me?
Augustus thought his life would change and he would sleep better if he could
just change beds. What he didn't understand and many of us miss also, is
that happiness is an inside job. It is a change that takes place inside of
us and is not regulated by the things that happen on the outside.

Jesus tells us how to deal with this in John 14:1-7, where he begins by
saying, ""Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe
also in me . . ."

Thayer defines the word translated as 'troubled' here as, "to be agitated,
to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind. Therefore
Jesus is saying, that, peace in your heart and 'calmness of mind is directly
connected to our belief in God the Father and His Son, Jesus. I think at
times each of us struggle in that area don't we. Faith is no something that
goes along steadily in a straight and even line in our lives. Our lives are
like traveling on a road. It travels down into valleys and up the mountains
of life, at times it is stronger than it is at other times. The thing we
must do is to hold on to faith (our belief in Jesus) no matter where we are
on that road. That's why happiness is an inside job.

One of the best known passages written by the apostle Paul is Philippians
4:11-13 where he says, "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how
to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or
with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation,
whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can
do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (NLT) Paul truly
understood that Happiness Is An Inside Job, when you put your faith in
Christ, what about you? You see, it's not about what you don't have in the
world, it's really about what you do have in Christ, life eternal.

Russ Lawson

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