THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS
Does God promise our happiness? I used to think that thought was ridiculous; in no way does He do such a thing, does He? After all, It is our holiness that He is most concerned with, and in our holiness we find our ultimate happiness. That's certainly what I've been taught.
Well, I don't think I'm willing to contradict the role that holiness plays in our happiness, but I do believe that the Biblical framework for our happiness is a little more defined than that. In fact, Jesus Himself seemed to layout a plan with a definite promise of happiness, not with a list of successive steps but certainly a list of qualities that, if reflected in our lives in increasing measure would lead to increasing amounts of happiness.
I enter into evidence the Beatitudes, "The Happies," as my junior high teacher, Sister Mary Kormanec used to call them. After all, the word "blessed", as it appears in the Beatitudes, means exactly that, "happy."
Matt. 5:3 "Happy are the poor in spirit...4 Happy are those who mourn...5 Happy are the meek...6 Happy are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness...[and even] 10 Happy are those who are persecuted."
Really? Here we find in Matthew 5, and also in Mark 6, God's gameplan, His pathway, to happiness. In fact, it is here that we find a new definition of happiness, certainly a happiness that is rooted in values that are quite different from those which we might tend to think lead to happiness. Poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted...not exactly the kinds of things we generally live for, seek higher education in, or generally pursue in any way, form, or fashion.
Perhaps, the key to falling in line with this promise of happiness is to first rethink our own definition of happiness and the things that we choose to pursue with our time, money, energy. After all, the things we pursue say quite a bit about our true values.
What is it that characterizes the Jesus-way of happiness? Do we see a common theme in the happies? I see brokenness, humility, lowliness, a lifestyle of resting in and walking in the Lordship of Christ. Walking in confidence that God is sovereign and can be trusted when we live HIs way, in line with His priorities, finding security in Him and then living accordingly.
What is it that breaks our pride? What is it that breaks our heart? What are the things that we weep over? What is it that brings out the gentleness in our spirit? Are we broken for the things of God, both in our personal life and in the world around us? How badly do we want to reflect the image of Christ?
The answers to these questions will go a long way in determining the degree to which we realize true happiness.
"He has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body and the humors of the fancy, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him." -Matthew Henry