I Think Myself Happy
Written by Leland Ping on May 23, 2016
The apostle Paul was more than just an apostle of Jesus Christ. He was also more than just an inspired writer who communicated countless and timeless lessons for how we can go about living more faithfully in service to God. Among Paul’s many roles is the one he plays (or should play) in the lives of all Christians and that is of being a chief-cheerleader for those who are of “the Way.” So much of what this man writes ought to be viewed as that which God wants His followers to know in order to remain positive in a world filled with so many things that can discourage us, make us lose our drive to serve the Creator, and cause us to lose our confidence and then to no longer be “happy.”
In Paul’s address to King Agrippa, the great cheerleader for Christians began with the following four words: “I think myself happy” (Acts 26:2). While Paul goes on to explain his rationale and give an incredible presentation about the gospel’s power to the king, the simplicity of this one statement ought not be under appreciated and ought to teach modern followers of Christ a number of powerful things.
First, our happiness does NOT depend on our circumstances. This occasion in Paul’s life was one of many wherein his freedom was limited and he was treated terribly by his accusers. Yet, throughout the entire New Testament’s record of Paul’s life, never once do we find him complaining. Instead, he made the most of every situation. And in making the most of every situation, this great example showed us time and time again how great things can happen if we keep our focus on God and His will.
Second, happiness is a choice. We get to choose how we react to the events of life but we don’t get to choose the events themselves. Everyone will experience good and bad days and some will have more bad than good. That’s life. But, Paul’s opening words to the king remind us that no one can take away our happiness. Like Paul, we can be ever-happy as long as we are ever-mindful of the one thing that matters in life and that is our God and His will.
Third, happiness might require effort and a sense of equity. That is, we might have to roll up our proverbial sleeves and make an effort to make the most of every situation. When Paul says he “thinks” himself to be happy, it seems that he acknowledges the fact that it’s not natural to be happy when things don't go our way. Yet, he also appreciates that the harder he worked at seeing the positive, the more positive things would become. Praise be to God for teaching us these lessons and for the blessings of happiness that come only through our dependence on Him.