Keith Wishum: A higher plane
Published 10:18 pm Friday, November 2, 2018
Happy or sad — in which state are you living today?
Chances are: neither. We spend most of our life in between. We may cry in the valleys of a few tragic events, and we celebrate an occasional mountaintop experience. But most of our time is spent walking the monotonous plains in between. Is there a way, while perhaps not living at the peak all the time, to at least climb to a higher altitude?
He who made us says, “Yes!” He provides simple guidelines to lift us to a higher place. “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart” (Psalm 19:8), he promises.
Would you like to enjoy life more? To be happier? Plant these five precepts of the Lord in your life and allow them to produce joy.
• Do right. “The prospect of the righteous is joy,” (Proverbs 10:28). Not only will the Manufacturer’s instructions help us avoid problems, but a clear conscience is vital to a happy heart. Nothing steals away happiness quite so completely as guilt.
• Curtail conflict. Much of our unhappiness results from conflict with the people around us. On the other hand, there is “joy for those who promote peace,” (Proverbs 12:20), and “A heart at peace gives life to the body,” (Proverbs 14:30).
• Anticipate the attitude. “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,” (Proverbs 15:30). Sometimes, we need to act happy in order to feel happy.
• Pursue the positive. “Good news gives health to the bones,” (Proverbs 15:30). “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land,” (Proverbs 25:25). It may not always be on the front page, but there is always good news to be found by those willing to search for it. Find it, and focus on it.
• Manufacture the mood. “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,” (Proverbs 27:9). You know what you enjoy and what makes you feel good. Take the time to surround yourself with people and things that engender joy.
Why settle for less than happiness? Your Creator wants you to experience joy. He provides precepts to guide you toward it. He gave his Son to elevate us to it. But he also leaves it up to us to decide whether we will linger in the valleys of despair, scale the heights of happiness, or plod along on the plains in between.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.