Session 2: Nothing But a Yuppie Word1. What makes you happy? Be honest! Playing Call of Duty with Justy Going out to eat with Kim to North End Finishing a deadline early Working on a Mac Cup of coffee or a great glass of wine - happiness or joy?2. “We donʼt want happiness in the next world. We want it next Monday.” Howdoes this quote from the French Revolution capture the spirit of ourcontemporary culture? Our focus on now instead of eternity. Our impatience. Focus on material over immaterial. I want my tic-tacs! How does this get at the root difference between happiness and joy? Happiness - oriented towards now Joy - towards eternity3. Contrasting with earlier generations, our entire contemporary society seems toorient itself towards the pursuit of happiness.” Agree or disagree? Why thechange? • Individualism - tech, political, societal • Thought process - “deserve happiness” “I deserve it” is a common expression we hear in contemporary culture. When do we feel that we “deserve” something? From Christʼs perspective, do we ever “deserve” anything?
What are the implications for the believer living in this world? We need to recognize the unique difficulty that we have compared to believers from the past. The realization that this will and does seduce us. C.S. Lewis - Screwtape Letters today...4. Philosopher William James believed that happiness is the secret motive insidethe heart of every person. Is it a motivator of you personally? Why or why not? Think of recent television ads youʼve seen. How do these ads emphasize happiness as a motivation for people buying their products? Think about your past week. How much have you focused your time and energies on “being happy”?5. What are some of the ways in which people have believed happiness isattained? • Aristotle/Founding Fathers - pursue virtue. It is the reward of a well-lived life. • Medical scientists - genes. Some people are wired for happiness and some are not. • Buddhists - making one’s inner life right through meditation. Get away from self- centeredness. “The purpose of life is to be happy” -- Dalai Lama. • Common - Eliminate the bad stuff; fill your life with good stuff. • Career • Relationships • Things (The Next Big Thing)6. According to the book, what are the two basic rules that most people follow topursue happiness? As you look on your life, do you see yourself following theserules, consciously or unconsciously? • Eliminate the bad stuff; fill your life with good stuff.
• The Next Big Experience/Adventure8. Culture tells us to “ﬁnd something that makes you happy and do it.” Is thisbiblical? Implicit statement - happiness is what life is all about.9. Job 20:5 says that “the joy (or happiness) of the godless is momentary”. Yet,for righteous or unrighteous people, does happiness last?“Happiness, no matter how it is attained, has an expiration date.”“Luck, virtue, genes, meditation, shopping, experiences, and Mickey Mouse ears. Eachis said to offer happiness. But the real issue is not so much what to do to be happy.Instead, it is our inability to stay happy. For no matter how we get into a state offulfillment and contentment, we just can’t stay there.”10. Describe an instance in your life in which you experienced happiness, only tosee it diminish as time passed. Was this avoidable? Why are the The Next Big Thing or The Next Great Adventure dead-ends? “Once it becomes ordinary, I lose the happiness I received in pursuing the thing in the first place. Continuing the cycle, I then start looking for the Next Big Thing to pursue.”11. We all want it, but see its pitfalls and trappings. Whatʼs a biblical, Christ-like approach towards happiness? 1. Embrace the gift of happiness. Happiness is a good thing, but its not the best thing. 2. Pursue as a hobby, not a vocation. “Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit and it leads us on a wild goose chase and is never attained.”
12. Read John 15:1-11. How does the joy that Christ talks about here contrast with the happiness weʼve been discussing?13. In the end, how big of a deal is joy to the Christian life? Is it really muchdifferent than happiness?Thesis: If you believe the Scriptures, joy is far more than a thesaurus entry forhappiness or a by-product of Christian behavior. While grace is Gods priceless gift tothe unsaved, joy is his most tangible and transformative gift that he gives to hisfollowers this side of heaven. Joy is dynamic proof of our future hope as believers andour greatest distinguisher to a cynical world held hostage by lifes circumstances.G.K. Chesterton - "Joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian"