NLIC Weekender (10/8/15) – “Am I Happy?” – *Not* a Helpful Question

New Life in Christ Weekender
A short reminder of events happening this weekend

[Scroll down for a list of events this weekend.]

The Wrong Question to Ask Yourself: “Am I Happy?”
By Pastor Sean

“Am I happy?” This is the wrong question we should be asking ourselves. Not only does it often lead to bad choices, but there is really no way that asking the question can give us an adequate answer. In fact, too much introspection is rarely helpful.

C.S. Lewis had something profound to say about this:

The enjoyment and the contemplation of our inner activities are incompatible. You cannot hope and also think about hoping at the same moment; for in hope we look to hope’s object and we interrupt this by (so to speak) turning round to look at the hope itself. Of course the two activities can and do alternate with great rapidity. . . . The surest means of disarming an anger or a lust was to turn your attention from the girl or the insult and start examining the passion itself. The surest way of spoiling a pleasure was to start examining your satisfaction. But if so, it followed that all introspection is in one respect misleading. In introspection we try to look “inside ourselves” and see what is going on. But nearly everything that was going on a moment before is stopped by the very act of our turning to look at it. Unfortunately this does not mean that introspection finds nothing. On the contrary, it finds precisely what is left behind by the suspension of all our normal activities; and what is left behind is mainly mental images and physical sensations. The great error is to mistake this mere sediment or track or byproduct for the activities themselves. (Quoted in The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd by John Piper, page 112-113).

Stop asking if you are enjoying God’s gifts and instead enjoy them. What should we do instead? Two things jump to my mind.

First, live in thankful contentment to God. Being thankful generates joy within us because it recognizes all of the good things we already have. Instead of asking if we are happy, we should count the number of reasons we already have to be happy.

Second, work to make others happy by meeting their needs. This is the loving life Jesus commands his disciples to live (John 13:34-35) and it is the path to greatest joy for us. True joy is found when we get the focus off of ourselves and put it onto others.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”” (Galatians 5:13-14).

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Upcoming Events                                                  


  • Christian Service Brigade Campout (through Sunday) – I love this weekend with my boys


  • 9:00 am Women’s Breakfast at Phyllis DiBella’s home (11 Averil Court, 22406)
  • Christmas Cantata Rehearsals (9 am – Orchestra/Noon – Choir)
  • 10:00 am Central Virginia Justice Initiative (room 219)
  • 10:30 am Women’s Ministry Training (room 217)
  • 11:30 am AM Praise Team Rehearsal


  • 9:00 AM – Sunday School for Children and Adults. Find out more about adult classes online here.
  • 10:00 AM – AM Worship Service – Pastor Doug will continue his sermon series on the book of Matthew.
  • 6:00 PM – Evening Service – Pastor Sean Preaching – Beginning new series on “Jesus and the Psalms”
  • 7:00 PM – Senior High Youth Discipleship (youth room) / Junior High Youth (room 217)
  • 7 PM – Elder-led Prayer Time – George Giddens Leading


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