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.
1. Happiness is on the other side of humility
Matthew 5:3-6, 9:10-13
- Pride keeps our hearts hard and impenetrable, unable to feel true pain or joy (more on this in Point 2). In God’s economy, joy is a fruit of the Spirit, so it can never be selfish. It’s always others-focused.
- Only when we humble ourselves and put the needs of others first do we allow the Spirit of Jesus to pour out his own crazy happiness in our hearts.
- If we are aware of our own poverty of spirit, we can be open to whatever God wants to do because we know that we contribute nothing to our salvation. We never merit or earn his blessing.
Spend some time in prayer, asking the Spirit to search your heart to reveal any strongholds of pride. How do you need to humble yourself? How is the process of increasing humility opening you up to greater joy?
2. Mourning is part of the journey
- The brokenness of the world and our own hearts produces great mourning throughout our lives. But that’s actually part of the road to happiness––when we are vulnerable enough to be honest about what we’re seeing and feeling in the world, we allow ourselves to feel what God feels and love what he loves. Only when our desires and feelings are patterned after Jesus’ do we know what true happiness is.
- Mourning is only possible with a soft heart. It’s hard-heartedness that keeps us from knowing the fullness of God’s joy. You can tell if you have a hard heart if your life is devoid of grief and pain. God comforts those who grieve, and his comfort is supernatural and beyond anything we have ever known.
Reflect on your life. What breaks your heart? If your heart feels incapable of breaking, ask the Lord why.
3. Meekness is not weakness
- Jesus (God himself) describes his character as meek. Our world sees this as weakness, but the Lord prizes meekness. He is our ultimate example of meekness and what it looks like to demonstrate true strength.
- 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.
Let’s get practical: name one or two relationships where you need to demonstrate meekness and humility. How can you do that this week?
4. God wants to fulfill your truest hunger
- God’s crazy happy plan is to fulfill our truest hunger. That means we have to let God reorder our hunger to desire the right things.
- When we chase our appetites, we end up getting hurt or hurting others. When we submit our appetites to God, he 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.
What do you hunger for? How do you seek to satisfy your appetites? Are there any appetites that need to be reordered or re-prioritized under the authority of Jesus?
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?