How to Stay Unhappy (Part 4)
We've begun considering ways in which we can nurture a negative state of mind and remain unhappy. We'll finish exploring that theme at this time, encouraging everyone to contemplate these points and then move quickly in the opposite direction:

30. Spend more than you earn and rack up lots of financial debt.
This will bring unnecessary stress and sorrow into your life. Live within your income, even if others are not. "Owe no one anything except to love one another" (Rom. 13:10).

31. Don't mean what you say; make promises you can't keep.
There is a time to say "yes" and a time to say "no." Always mean what you say (cf. Matt. 5:37). Don't give your word if you are not serious about keeping it. Ecclesiastes 5:5 - "Better not to vow than to vow and not pay."

32. Frown.
It takes effort to smile, but it is worth it! Deuteronomy 26:11 - "So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you."

33. Never tell anyone how you feel or what you're thinking.
Communication is necessary to have strong relationships, which, in turn, can produce much joy.

34. Make sure everything you do impresses someone else.
If your focus is exclusively on pleasing people, you'll fail and not be happy. Recall what Paul said in Galatians 1:10 - "Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."

35. Watch TV for several hours every day.
This too is an escape for many, but it eats away at precious time for doing more important things--things of eternal value. Not to mention, it often allows a lot of filth into one's mind (cf. Phil. 4:8).

36. Don't play; just work all the time.
That will bring a lot of quality to your life--not! Although we don't live under the Sabbath law today, we are wise to take time off for recreation, rest, and recharging (cf. Exo. 20:8-11). God knows what is best for our state of mind.

37. Let your close relationships deteriorate.
ranted and don't continue investing in your relationships, they will wither. Loving your mate properly should be the first relationship you keep working on (cf. Eph. 5:22ff).

38. Never finish what you start; don't work hard at anything.
Dabbling a little bit here and a little bit there might be interesting, but it's not very fulfilling. Ecclesiastes 9:10 - "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."

39. Take everything personally.
If you expect others to tolerate you and be patient, but you don't ever reciprocate, you'll never be happy. "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12).

40. Do illegal drugs; drink alcohol.
Those things are tools to escape, but they don't bring real happiness. Proverbs 20:1 affirms - "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."

41. Never say, "I'm sorry" & never say, "I love you."
These are some of the most important phrases in the English language. Are you saying them enough?

42. Believe that, no matter what, you are entitled to things; rely on others for everything.
The truth is that you're not entitled to anything; every blessing is a gift from God (cf. James 1:17). It is not bad to rely on others, but to rely on them for everything is not healthy. That's the practical definition of a baby or immature person--one who cannot do anything for himself. Such will not lead to a joyful state of mind.

43. Don't make decisions; procrastinate.
If you're indecisive, you'll end up letting life and its God-given opportunities pass you by. We only live on this planet once; we need to do it right (cf. Heb. 9:27)!

44. Always disregard other people's opinions and suggestions.
Proverbs 11:14 - "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety."

The most concentrated collection of wisdom on the subject of human joy may be found in the Beatitudes of Christ. As we prepare to wrap up this series of lessons, please consider Matthew 5:3-12 - " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

There's the formula for real, lasting joy! Did you notice the logical progression to Jesus' words here? After one comes to realize his sinfulness, he must empty himself of pride and self-sufficiency (i.e., become "poor in spirit"), and he must "mourn." This will make it easier to submit to God completely and be strong under His control (i.e., "meek"). Such a person will naturally "hunger and thirst after righteousness" for he realizes that without God and His spiritual nourishment, he is destitute. To strongly desire to do what is right should lead one to be "merciful" as God was to him, and it will also help in the effort to be "pure in heart." One who is full of mercy and devoted to purity is highly qualified to be a "peacemaker." However, a person who possesses these attributes of true joy will be hated by the world and will suffer as one "persecuted for righteousness' sake." However, this persecution should not dampen the spirits of one whose reward is not on earth but in heaven!