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The Bill Gaither music videos have helped me to put it together. The pieces have been in front of me for years, but I haven’t assembled them in the right way until recently.
Watching the Gaither music videos, I have been impressed by how happy everybody is. Indeed, they are the happiest group of people I have ever encountered! These folks are the real deal. They really believe in what they are singing about. There ain’t no phony religion here! They really know how to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” (Psalm 100)
Here are three concepts that, in my humble opinion, form the basis for the happiness that we see in the Gaither videos:
- The more love you give, the more love you get. This idea not only applies to human relationships, but also to our relationship with God.
When I speak of God generally in this essay, I am also talking about Jesus. After all, Jesus said “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me…” (John 14:11)
- Jesus gave us the following two commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
I have always wholeheartedly believed in the second of these commandments, but I had a little difficulty with the first. Somehow, I thought it was selfish of God to require that one. You don’t command somebody to love you. Love doesn’t work that way. Watching the Gaither videos, I had an epiphany. When you combine the first of Jesus’ two commandments with Concept 1 above, it suddenly makes more sense to me! That community of gospel singers in the Gaither videos is an excellent example of these concepts at work.
- As I child, I remember singing a song in Bible School about Jesus and Others and You being the formula for JOY! That is the right order of things. Like most folks, I don’t live up to that ideal to the extent I should. I do remind myself of it often, and I do try hard to be considerate of others.
Let’s put it another way:
To be truly happy, you need to love God (not just a little, but a lot!), you need to follow the Golden Rule (Treat others as well as you would like to be treated yourself), and you need to put God (or Jesus) first, others next, then yourself.
This is the Secret to Happiness. It’s simple, it’s right as rain, and it works!
When I first wrote about the concepts above, I overlooked (or took for granted) a prerequisite – something that you need before they can really work for you. You need to know God. By knowing God, I mean something more than just believing He exists. Based on who they are, and what they do, I believe that the vast majority (if not all) of the happy folks in the Gaither music videos know God. I plan to add another article on what it means to know God.
Here are some other thoughts to expand on the idea:
- When you are high on God’s love, you don’t need recreational drugs!
I would venture that the people on the videos are happier, and feel better, than anyone who takes drugs for a high, or to “feel good.” They don’t have guilt or withdrawal symptoms afterwards, either. God’s love is free. You don’t have to steal from your neighbors to support your habit!
- I’ll have some of what they are having! (Line adapted from the movie “When Harry met Sally” 1989)
Well, I have some of it already, but I crave more. I guess I’m getting addicted. What a combination – Southern Gospel music, Country Gospel Music and Bluegrass Gospel Music, being performed and enjoyed by a believing community of some of the best gospel musicians anywhere! When I listen to this stuff, I’m as close to Heaven as I have ever been!
When I first started to write on this topic, I wanted to do it without referencing the Bible. This stems from being turned off by people who were trying to sell me religion while quoting the Bible as the absolute authority. This does not work well when you are trying to convince someone (like I was at the time) who does not accept the Bible as a dependable source. I plan to write more about this in a later blog. I’ll try to keep my “Bible thumping” to a minimum. However it’s hard to talk about Jesus Christ, and especially the things He taught and said, without referring to the Bible. Let’s face it, the Bible is the best source we have for information about Jesus. Whenever I quote the Bible, I will cite the Book, Chapter and verses.
In future articles, I plan to talk about what God is, what it means to love God, and my ideas on how this relates to organized religion and church. Some of my ideas are a little unconventional. There are many houses of worship where I would get thrown out as a heretic. Come to think of it, wasn’t that part of the problem that Jesus had, that led to the authorities nailing him up to a cross? I guess I’m in pretty good company, after all!