Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Are we really Happy or Blessed?

 

 

Matthew 5:3-12

(3)  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(4)  Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

(5)  Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

(6)  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

(7)  Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

(8)  Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

(9)  Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

(10)  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(11)  "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

(12)  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

I am a people watcher.  I like to go to places where people congregate and observe the people   I really believe that God wants people to be happy or blessed.  So I like it when it seems that people I am observing are happy.  But sometimes what we see is deceiving and while people seem happy on the outside, they may be hurting on the inside.  Likely many of the people I see are looking for happiness, but they are looking for it in ways that are destructive  I believe that God wants to give us true and lasting  blessing or happiness.

 

What is happiness and where is it found?

In the Bible the words happy and blessed seem to be linked.  In the beatitudes above, each word blessed has been changed to happy in some of the more modern translations of the Bible.  As I read these beatitudes, they seem completely opposed to what most of us believe brings happiness today.  Just reread the beatitudes and substitute happy for the word blessed and then see if that is the thing that brings happiness in your life.  Aren’t all of these things completely contrary to what we are taught will make us happy?  I realize that the beatitudes are looking at eternal rewards, but I believe they indicate that it is possible to be happy right now.  But we must meet the conditions of each promised blessing.

 

Happiness is sometimes associated with success.   When I was in school, I was always happy when I got A’s on exams.  I was happy when I passed the CPA exam.  Many of us think that happiness involves “getting ahead.”  Many of us want honor and authority.  Achievements in this world do make us happy for a while.  But does that happiness last?  Do those achievements really bring lasting satisfaction?

 

Is happiness a feeling or a condition or both?  Dictionaries use various terms to define happiness.  Some of them say it is a state of contentment or satisfaction.  Some compare happiness to joy.  Often the word pleasure is used.  Some relate happiness to good fortune.  Happiness is likely different things to different people.

 

Scriptural Happiness is not obtained by Natural Means

When the Queen of Sheba observed Solomon’s kingdom and reign she realized that his servants and subjects were indeed blessed because they had a righteous, wise king.   I think she thought they were in a state of good fortune and that living in Israel at that time was pleasurable.  While conditions that make us happy change, the attitudes that make us happy don’t have to change.  The beatitudes deal with those attitudes. I don’t think those attitudes are the attitudes that we are born with naturally.  But they can be cultivated by one who has been born again.  The new birth gives us a new eternal destiny and that has to make us happy.  It gives us a new leader who like Solomon is wise and righteous.  Before we were saved or born again we served Sin or Satan even though we may have thought we were serving God.   After we are saved we serve Righteousness or the Lord.  Paul explains this in Romans 6.  However, if in serving the Lord, we had to take the humble place in society, if we had to put others interests ahead of our own, would that make us truly happy?   And yet, just as I like to see people happy, the Lord likes that as well.  But to obtain His happiness, which is not just a fleeting emotion, we have to unlearn the principles of our society which put self first.  We have to practice the principle of putting others first.

 

Should Happiness be our Goal in Life?

As I write this, I realize that happiness was never a stated objective in our family.  We respected hard work and success in achievements, but I don’t ever remember being asked if I was happy.   But in later years, I have found that happiness should be one of our goals.  But we should strive for the happiness found in the beatitudes.  I suspect that many Christians would have to admit that they don’t think the principles of the Sermon on the Mount really work.  They think they if they lived by the principles of the Sermon on the Mount that people would walk all over them.  They are right.  They might even nail you to a cross.  And how could that make you happy?  God says it will and the early disciples who were martyred said it did.  Of course that is not the kind of happiness most of us want.

 

I want to be happy and I am sure you do too.  We certainly ought to believe God when He says Christ died for our sins.  And maybe we should believe God when He tells us how to be happy now that we are saved.  I am personally praying for the attitude adjustments in my own life that will lead to true happiness.

 

Bruce Collins

 

Meditation for the week of August 13, 2017

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