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The Joy You've Always Wanted

In order to experience true and lasting joy, we must cultivate thanksgiving.

The topic today is joy. And the chief question is: how do we get it? How do we have more joy more often? How can we be happy?

We are looking at Paul's letter to the church in Philippi. Philippians 1:3-6 reads: "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

What I want to focus on today is joy, which is a huge topic in the Book of Philippians, and a huge topic in life. We all want to be happy. We all want joy. Aristotle called happiness the summum bonum—the greatest good. It is the ultimate goal of people's lives. He argued that we do what we do, we seek what we seek and love what we love, because we believe these things will make us happy. He was right.

We can add that we do things we want to do—or even do things we do not want to do, like doing exercises we hate or taking medicine that tastes bad—because we believe that they will make us healthy, which will make us happy. And we can further add that happiness is our ultimate goal. We go to work in order to make money, believing that this chain of events will ultimately make us happy. We watch a movie or football on Sunday afternoon believing that this will make us happy. We do not seek happiness so that we can go to work or watch football. Happiness is the ultimate end.

People often say, "What good is money; it can't buy happiness." But they never say, "What good is happiness; it can't buy money" (see Making Choices by Peter Kreeft).

Happiness is a universal goal. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion and false ...

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Mike Woodruff is pastor of Christ Church Lake Forest in Lake Forest, Illinois, and president of The Christian International Scholarship Foundation.

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Audio Sample:

Sermon Outline:

Introduction

I. God is the happiest being in the universe.

II. God desires that we should be joyful as well.

III. Life works better when we are joyful.

IV. True happiness is a byproduct of a life rightly lived.

V. Lasting joy comes through right thinking, especially thanksgiving.

VI. Joy is available now.

Conclusion