God Wants Me To Be Happy
Ecclesiastes 1:14: “All is vanity and a striving after the wind.”
Should we then just conclude happiness cannot be found? Perhaps God doesn’t want us to be happy and it’s not even something we should pursue Or, perhaps, God defines happiness in different terms than we commonly do, and perhaps the pathway to God-defined happiness is different?
In the Old Testament, there’s a Hebrew word that means _________________ or ___________________.
It’s translated both ways in English Bibles.
- Psalm 144:15, “Blessed” or “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.”
- Proverbs 16:20, “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed (or happy) is he who trusts in the Lord.”
- Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Jesus begins his teaching by saying, in effect, happiness is a quality of _____________________ one cultivates rather than a set of __________________________ created by the right combination of achievements, toys, pleasures, and money.
Matthew 5:3-12 NKJV “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.
“Blessed” is now translated in the New Testament out of the Greek language instead of the Hebrew of the Old Testament. It’s the Greek Word “Makarios” which means “blessed” or “happy.”
“Blessed” is not a state of merely enjoying some wonderful experiences or enjoying delightful circumstances.
But the blessed state Jesus describes is state of joy and happiness that can’t be touched by the _________________________ of the world.
- Loss of health
- Disappointment with plans not coming to fruition
- The frustration of some ambition
- The loss of a position – none of these things can touch this state of “blessed,” this God defined state
QUESTIONS & EXERCISES
For Daily Devotionals or Bible Study Group
- Bobby McFerrin’s popular song in the 80s told us not to worry, but to “be happy.” How do you define happiness? Can you command happiness by simply telling yourself to “be happy?” Why or why not? Why do you think happiness seems so elusive to so many? How have you pursued happiness apart from God? How did such a pursuit show itself to be empty and ultimately fruitless?
- In the Old Testament, the term “blessed” can be translated “happy.” Additionally, Jesus uses a similar word in the beatitudes, to describe the happy state of ones who cultivate a certain inner spirit. How does Jesus’ definition of happiness differ from the way the world perceives happiness?
- Read Psalm 16:11. In what ways does God make known to us the paths of life? In practical term, how do we experience joy in God’s presence? What are the eternal pleasures to which David refers? How do we live consistently in such a state as David describes in this text?
- As you read through the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12; the be “happy” attitudes), which ones do you find the most surprising? Why? Which ones the most difficult to understand? Why do you suppose Jesus begins his first sermon discussion what a happy, or blessed state of being looks like?
- Should happiness be the Christians highest pursuit in life? Why or why not? In what ways is happiness a by-product of pursuing God and his will? If someone were to ask you the secret of happiness, what would you tell them?