3 Spiritual Habits for a Happy Life That We Don’t Usually Talk About

3 Spiritual Habits for a Happy Life That We Don’t Usually Talk About

God wants us to be happy.

By happy, I don’t mean some superficial, worldly notion of happiness, like having more money. I’m talking about true happiness, the kind that the Psalmist describes in Psalm 1 about the man who is “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (v. 3). God desires for us to experience a deep, rich and nourishing happiness.So, how do receive this happiness from God? For that, we turn to habits.

We all have habits, whether we realize it not. We have set times that we wake up, that we eat. We have set rhythms when we’re going to bed. We have habits.

However, not all habits are good. Not every habit will cultivate this God-given happiness. If we’re going to experience God’s joy for us, we need to do the things that God requires of us. We must develop and cultivate certain habits. Because God won’t be pleased if we do some things only a little bit of the time. God isn’t going to bless us with His happiness if we’re barely doing what He wants us to do.

We don’t cultivate these habits because we need to earn God’s favor. We’re not trying to prove to God that we are deserving of His love. Not at all.

Rather, we must train ourselves, we must cultivate certain habits so that they become second nature. And, when these practices become a habit, it won’t require much of us. We will just do them. That’s what a habit can do.

Instead of trying to earn his love, we cultivate these habits in response to his love. We engage in these practices out of our love for him. They are acts of worship; they are in response to what Jesus has done for us.

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1. Enjoy Our Work and Resources

1. Enjoy Our Work and Resources

If we work hard and steward our resources, we will receive deep joy.

Let’s look at Ecclesiastes 5:12. Here, the author reveals that hard work is more satisfying than being rich. For, again, because the rich never have enough, they can’t sleep. Whereas the man or woman who works hard and honorable, they can comfortably go to sleep. And, they can do this because God is pleased with their work.

That is why the author can say in chapter 9, verse 10 to work hard and enjoy your work because God is pleased with it. How liberating this is!

Brothers and sisters, whatever job you do, know that if you do with well, if you work hard and don’t cut corners, know that God is pleased with you. Whether you are in coding, whether you work at a desk or in a classroom, or whether you work in homes or care for children, whatever work you do, God is pleased with it.

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"Since, these are gifts from God, we should enjoy them."

"Since, these are gifts from God, we should enjoy them."

In Ecclesiastes 5:18; 9:7, we see that our resources – our money, our food, our drinks – are gifts from God. He has entrusted them to us. They are our lot, our portion.

We did very little work to receive our resources. Yes, we may have worked hard, but who gave you the job to work hard? Who gave you the education to get that job? Who gave you the energy to do well at your job? The answer: God!

Since, these are gifts from God, we should enjoy them. We shouldn’t take them for granted. They can easily be replaced at a moment’s notice.

Thus, we must enjoy them. God has approved that we enjoy them. We should be grateful and enjoy the food at our disposal. Whether the food is ramen or carne asada, let us delight in them. Whether we are drinking water or wine, whether it is soda or tea, let us savor them.

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2. Be On Time and Sing in Church

2. Be On Time and Sing in Church

Being connected to, rooted in and thriving within Christian community does not just happen. Rather, there are certain practices required in order to fulfill this habit, and this means (among other things) that you are on time for Sunday mornings and that you sing.

If we want to be brutally honest, this means not showing up forty minutes late to church on a Sunday morning.

There may be some legitimate extraneous circumstances. But, the vast majority of the time why people are late is because they didn’t start their morning early enough. They slept in, probably because stayed up too late the night before, or some people intentionally come late because they want to skip the singing.

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"We are reminded afresh of the gospel when we sing."

"We are reminded afresh of the gospel when we sing."

Whatever your reason, be on time. Here’s why: the Holy Spirit does a profound work in us when we sing. When we sing, the Spirit is at work speaking truth to us. We are reminded afresh of the gospel when we sing.

In fact, as we see in Colossians 3:16, singing to God teaches us: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

As we’re singing, the Spirit reminds us that Jesus is enough. He tells us that Christ is more precious than this world. Furthermore, when we sing, the Spirit fills us up with more of Himself.

Look at Ephesians 5:18-19: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”

As we sing, the Spirit assures us that God is with us. Put plainly: if you’re late, you miss out on this work of the Spirit.

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3. Excercise Self-Control in Our Diets

3. Excercise Self-Control in Our Diets

God wants us to care for our physical bodies, and one way we can care for our bodies is through our diet. Weight loss and overall health is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. That tells us that what we eat plays a bigger role than how much we exercise.

Proverbs 25:16, 27-28:

“If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit. It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep. Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

Do you see the emphasis on self-control?

So, the first area of self-control is in how much we eat. Sure, have some dessert. Just don’t eat ice cream every night of the week. Sure, eat a hamburger. Just don’t eat hamburgers for lunch every day. And, when you eat, don’t eat to the point that your so stuffed you can’t move. That’s over eating. One practice that we’re committing to personally is to not eat seconds.

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"Scripture also doesn’t want us to be legalistic."

"Scripture also doesn’t want us to be legalistic."

For most of us, we grew up not really knowing what we should and shouldn’t eat. So, as part of self-control, we need to reform our hungers and thirsts. We need to reshape what we crave to eat. We even need to commit to certain foods that we wouldn’t want to eat before.

That being said, brothers and sisters, as best as possible, avoid processed foods. Cut down on sugar. A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Set a goal (ex: stop drinking soda, cook more at home, etc).

Scripture also doesn’t want us to be legalistic. We can enjoy a rich meal with dessert. Rather, Scripture is against over indulgence.

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"These are areas we all can and need to improve in."

"These are areas we all can and need to improve in."

As we go through these habits, there may be some triggers that cause guilt or shame to arise in your heart. You may feel like, “Oh my, I’m not doing any of these things. I’m a terrible person. Does God even love me?”

Sisters and brothers, again, don’t hear me saying, “You are terrible and let me tell you why.” Instead, hear me as, “These are areas we all can and need to improve in. We must engage in these practices so that we may be filled with God’s happiness.”

Aaron and Michelle Reyes are a pastor and professor couple. They are theology lovers, literary enthusiasts, and parents of two littles. They write and run The Art of Telah

This article was adapted from five parts of the Spiritual Habits series on The Art of Taleh: Introduction, What the Scripture Says About Our Diet; Be On Time and Sing in Church; and On Enjoying Our Work & Our Resources. Used with permission.

See more of this series on The Art of Taleh.

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About Health & Beauty

God's Word tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, that outward beauty is deceptive and fleeting while inward beauty is unfading and of great worth. It doesn't take long to look at today's media and see how the world is trying to convince us otherwise! Read uplifting and encouraging real life stories from Christian women about true beauty and health. Start seeing yourself as the women God created you to be!