Happiness is born from the inside-out…Most of us would embrace that sentiment, right? But more often than not, we live like we’re waiting for an outward change of circumstances to propel us into happiness, only to find that once we arrive at the desired destination, while we may like the new reality, we are still left unfulfilled. So we keep getting back on the hamster wheel. That’s why Jesus’ teachings about true satisfaction are so revolutionary! He taught that there’s a way our deepest longings can actually be satisfied––and that’s the secret to true joy that transcends all our circumstances.
1. A satisfied soul loves mercy
- Mercy isn’t an emotion. It’s a disposition of the heart that says, “Because I have been forgiven, I want to demonstrate the same grace and forgiveness to others.” It comes from the overflow of forgiveness we have already received.
- When we are satisfied in Jesus, we don’t need to “get” things from other people. We don’t need to one-up anyone. We have nothing to prove. We can rest in who God is and who we are, extending grace to others.
Reflect on a time someone showed you mercy. Who have you neglected to show mercy to? Why? What do you need to do to demonstrate mercy this week?
2. Purity focuses your vision
- God loves a pure heart because it is uncluttered and available to him to direct and fill! Giving him the space allows him to do the work he wants to do in us.
- When our hearts are pure, we don’t divorce God from anything we encounter, but we leave room for him to work and bring impurities to the surface in our lives. That keeps us focused.
Spend some time praying and/or journaling. Is your heart pure before the Lord? If so, how is God focusing your vision? If not, what do you need to confess and ask the Lord to purify in your life?
3. Be a peacemaker
- Without the peace of God, there are tons of reasons to be divided. But if we know the peace of God, we can participate in making peace with others.
- Because Jesus has already made peace with us, we have nothing to fear by forgiving others and by admitting our own fault or wrongdoing in conflict. We can go first.
- God’s plan for happiness is for us to know peace with him and to make peace with others. Even if someone doesn’t receive our desire to make peace with them, doing what we know God wants us to do evokes great joy in our hearts.
Who do you need to “go first” to seek peace with? How will you go about that?
4. The crazy happy life isn’t always easy
John 15:17-21; 2 Timothy 3:10-12
- Jesus is saying we will be happy when we’re persecuted for our righteousness. That seems crazy! What Jesus is saying is that, while the crazy happy life isn’t easy, because many will not understand the path of righteousness, it is worth it. God’s path for happiness fulfills us like nothing else ever can.
- It is best to settle our decisions ahead of time. If we know that this life will be hard, that we will face temptation and that we will often be misunderstood or antagonized for following Jesus, we can make up our minds ahead of time to choose righteousness.
Have you made up your mind in advance to walk in righteousness? How do you need to trust God’s seemingly crazy ways today?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?