Thursday, October 27, 2022
Is True Happiness Possible?
Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful. (Proverbs 16:20 NLT)
I’ve never met someone who said, “I really don’t want to be happy. I want to be miserable.” A few people might feel that way, but most of us want to be happy.
Jesus understood our basic human desire for happiness. Thus, He made happiness the subject of some of the first promises He ever offered. We find those promises in what we call the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. Here, Jesus describes how we can be blessed or happy.
Certainly, this world isn’t going to make us happy. There are people who have everything supposedly necessary for contentment and fulfillment but still feel empty.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us how to experience personal happiness—real and lasting happiness. Yet, the happiness the Bible speaks of is different from our culture’s definition of happiness.
Happiness in our culture depends largely on good things taking place in our lives. In other words, if the bills are paid and the skies are blue, then we’re happy. But if we’re facing some kind of challenge, then we’re unhappy. Happiness depends on what is happening in our lives. But the happiness the Bible offers us is something different.
We can translate the word “blessed,” which Jesus used in Matthew 5, as “happy.” It comes from the Greek word makários, which was a description of the Mediterranean island of Cypress. Because of its geographical location, balmy climate, and fertile soil, the Greeks believed they could find everything they needed for happiness and fulfillment there. It was a self-contained happiness.
In the same way, the happiness that God has in store for us doesn’t depend on what is happening to us externally. This means that we can be happy regardless of our circumstances.
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