Since I am a minister, one would assume that I would emphasize the fact of true joy, happiness and fulfillment in life is absolutely tied to the Bible. The Bible is your handbook to abundant living.

I feel the need to dwell on this subject a little because we are living in an unsure, unsafe, dismal, difficult society today. Yet, in spite of that, there is a source of joy, happiness and contentment in this world.

So I make no apologies for saying, “follow scripture, and life will be rewarding and fulfilling. Of course, there are no promises that it will be without issues or heartaches or difficulties. But it will be a life of great joy and fulfillment in the midst of turmoil.

If you want a fulfilling life, then develop the practice of taking great delight in God. He is the best friend, and He cares for you. Have a genuine relationship with His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. You may do this by asking Him into your heart and ask Him to be the Lord of your life. Rather than living according to your own fleshly desires, delight in Him. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” When you delight yourself in the Lord, suddenly you will come to realize your desires are aligned with His desires. Then He will have no reason to withhold those things from you which you desire because they are His desires. His desires are best. And you will come to realize your human desires were dismal, unfulfilling and meaningless.

If you want a fulfilling life, you must guard God’s peace in your heart. Colossians 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” It is not difficult to know what thoughts, actions and attitudes contribute to a clear conscience and a heart of peace. Especially is it not difficult for one who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is also not difficult to recognize those issues of life which violate God’s peace in your heart and violate your conscience.

If you want a fulfilling life, you must guard your thought life. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

The greatest robber of fulfillment in life is to have what someone called “stinkin’ thinkin’. Many people live defeated lives and are robbed of joy and fulfillment because their thoughts are always on things that are dismal, tragic, anger-based, lies, unjust, impure, and total lack of praise and thanksgiving.

So — delight yourself in the Lord, live at peace with yourself by not permitting your conscience to be violated, and finally, let your heart dwell on things that are lovely, just, pure, honest, Heavenly, and just plain good! Think about how you can bless others, and think about the good God wants to confer on your life.

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Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.