To find happiness, Christians must stop worrying about inconsequential things and find relaxation in the grace of God, Pastor Rick Warren shared in a recent devotional.
Warren, who heads Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, writes in his "Daily Devotional" that Christians need to stop worrying about God's approval, and rather relax knowing that God loves all of his children unconditionally.
"You can't earn God's approval. You can't earn his love. You can't earn his recognition. God is love, and he loves you unconditionally. If you want to be a happy person, you need to relax in God's grace every day," Warren writes.
Warren goes on to suggest that a dangerous way to lose happiness is by constantly trying to prove that you are worthy of God's love. Such an attitude can result in judgment and feelings of guilt, subsequently removing the happiness from the special relationship a Christian shares with God.
"When you finally realize there's nothing you can do to make God love you more, it is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. And, it is a key to happiness. Every day, remind yourself of the grace of God, and relax in it," Warren writes.
Another important ingredient to maintaining happiness is to know what truly matters in life, as it is so easy to lose joy over minor, unimportant things, like gaining weight or being cut off on the freeway, the megachurch pastor writes.
Warren references Philippians 3:7, when Paul realizes that all of his earthly worries proved inconsequential when he found the love of God.
The best way to avoid letting the sorrows of daily life get you down is to avoid being consumed by pop culture, Warren writes, adding that focusing on the eternal will help Christians shake America's obsession with consumerism and fads.
"America is on trivial pursuit. We're living for things that don't really matter. So to be counter culture, you've got to focus not on what's current but what's eternal. When you live in light of eternity, you realize that the small things you're worrying about aren't going to matter in eternity, and instead of stressing out, you can be a happier person," Warren writes.
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Church in California has also spoken on the importance of maintaining joy in times of struggle, referencing Paul in Philippians and how he had an ongoing attitude of joy despite facing possibly being beheaded.
"Even when Paul thought about his potential death, he was still full of joy. In verse 21 of Philippians 1 he said, 'For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better,'" Laurie said in a recent sermon reported by The Christian Post.
"Then Paul got down to the bottom line of it all when he said in chapter 4, verse 4, 'Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!'" Laurie added.