Take a moment, and remember a time when you felt happy—really happy. When have you felt the kind of happiness that bubbles way down deep? What were some moments that you’ve wanted to save and keep for the rest of your life?
I remember last year some friends of mine from church flew to the East coast for a business trip and brought me back a New York bagel –– I’m telling you, they’re different from other bagels! And amazing. Now, that was a happy moment, my friends.
But okay, in all seriousness, maybe it’s a major life event, like your wedding or the moment you became a parent, that comes to mind when you think of happiness. It could have been one of the quiet moments when you just felt content and satisfied with your life. Maybe you only have to look over the last week to find a moment like that. Maybe it’s been years. Maybe you’re having trouble thinking of one at all.
Sometimes, especially during stressful or challenging times, we wonder…Does God actually want us to be happy?
The answer is, “Yes!” (But not in the way that we think.)
God created us. He knows how we work, and He knows what makes us happy. In fact, the Bible tells us over and over the way to our truest happiness. The problem is, we don’t choose that way. We try to make our own way.
In the Scriptures, the word “blessed” gets its fair share of page space. Jesus used it quite a bit in one of his more famous sermons: the Sermon on the Mount. Often, we get the idea that this is a church word, but the genuine definition of this word is “happy.”
So when Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” (Matthew 5:3) what he’s really saying is, “Oh how happy is the person with a humble heart.” Now, when we think of humility, we probably don’t associate it with happiness. Why? Because humility is hard. However, the God who made us knows that the more we choose humility, the happier we will be.
After dropping that mind-blowing truth, Jesus has another one ready to go:
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Okay. Most of us can probably see how humility could at least lead to happiness. But mourning?! C’mon. Those of us who have experienced mourning know that it’s about as far away from happiness as you can get.
Jesus would disagree. The happiness he’s offering in Matthew 5 isn’t the world’s definition of happiness. It’s a deeper happiness that comes from a right relationship with the Father.
Our selfishness will never lead to our happiness. It might lead to a temporary high, the pleasure of getting what we want, but it will not lead to the depth of happiness that God wants for us. The more selfish decision that we make, the less happy we will be.
It’s been said that God cares about our holiness rather than our happiness. Perhaps a better way to say it is that God has shown us the holiness that leads to our happiness.
God has called us to live a life of holiness. When we choose to live rightly before God, we will find ourselves satisfied, content, blessed.
In other words, we will be happier.
There is a deep happiness found in living as Jesus has called us to live.