Think About It!
Nobody wants to be unhappy––that would be crazy, right? In fact, inside all of us is a deep longing for something more. Something beyond ourselves. Something beautiful. And what’s even crazier is we may have been missing an important truth hidden in plain sight….In one of his most famous teachings, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of the “blessed” person, which can also be translated “happy” person. But Jesus’ description of the happy person sounds crazy to our contemporary way of thinking––which is exactly why it will revolutionize your life.
Talk About It!
1. Happiness is on the other side of humility
Matthew 5:3-6, 9:10-13
- Have you ever tried to plant a seed in soil that was too cold or too hard? When we hold onto pride, it makes our hearts hard and cold, just like that soil. God wants to plant beautiful things in us, like joy (that’s a fruit of the Spirit!). But as long as our hearts are hard and self-centered, those seeds won’t go in, and we won’t have as much joy in our lives.
- How can you make that soil ready for planting seeds? You have to give it some warmth, some water, and probably get in there and break it up with your hands. God’s love makes our hearts warm and waters them, but to break up that hard pride, he humbles us. To be “humble” means that we see other people as better than ourselves.
- How does God soften our hearts? When we realize that everything we have comes from Jesus, we don’t need to hold onto our pride. We don’t need our hearts to be hard. We can admit that we’re not the best at everything. As we admit that, our hearts become softer, and God can plant joy in us.
2. Mourning is part of the journey
- Have you ever seen something happening that made you sad for someone else? (Like someone getting bullied or treated badly?) If you’ve ever seen someone being treated badly, you’ve seen that the world is broken. Sometimes, we don’t want to look at how broken the world is, but that’s actually part of the road to happiness. Those things make God sad, and when we allow ourselves to feel what God feels, we can know what true happiness is.
- How did that event make you feel? You might have felt sad and mad. The Bible has a word for that feeling. It’s called “mourning.” When someone is mourning, they are saying, “The world is broken. That makes God sad, and it makes me sad too.” When we mourn, our hearts become soft, and suddenly, God begins to plant joy there!
3. Meekness is not weakness
- Do you know what “meekness” is? “Meekness” is choosing to self control instead of power. Jesus (God himself) describes his character as meek. He had the power of being God, but he became a human like us. Our world sees this as weakness, but the Lord loves meekness. He is our ultimate example of meekness and what it looks like to demonstrate true strength.
- Have you ever seen someone demonstrate meekness? This is part of why God’s plan for happiness seems crazy to us––he prizes character qualities we don’t. His definition of greatness and goodness don’t line up with the lies we’ve heard about our own power and strength.
4. God wants to fulfill your truest hunger
- Have you ever gotten really hungry and wanted something that wasn’t good for you? Sometimes, when we’re hungry, we don’t make great decisions, and that’s also true when we’re hungry for attention. We look to the wrong things to fill us up, but God’s crazy happy plan is to fulfill our truest hunger.
- What should we do when we want things that aren’t good for us? God helps us hunger for righteousness and the things he himself longs for, which always ends up benefiting us and others. When we’re hungering for righteousness and the Lord himself, the Lord will absolutely fulfill us.
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- What makes you say that?
- How does that make you feel?
- How would you explain this to someone who doesn’t know Jesus?
- Why do you think God did it that way?
- Why should we do the things that God tells us?